Posted on February 6, 2024
HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Last week, the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority met for its first regular meeting of the year. Chairman Ric Campo opened the meeting by commending the Port Houston team for its leadership and doing a great job over the year.
Chairman Campo also expressed his appreciation for the mutual collaboration and partnerships of the International Longshoremen’s Association, seafarers, the U.S. Coast Guard, Houston Pilots, and others working for the good of the Houston Ship Channel. Chairman Campo added that he was excited about the work ahead in 2024.
In his report to the Port Commission, Executive Director Roger Guenther highlighted the many achievements of 2023. He expressed Port Houston’s commitment to continue expanding capacity at its public facilities to support further growth, and underscored record-breaking daily gate transactions at Port Houston’s two container terminals, and an increase of 1.4% in loaded twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2023 container activity.
Numerous construction and design projects were completed or underway in 2023, including Wharves 6, 7, and 1, and Container Yards 4 and 5 at Bayport and Wharves 4, 5, and 6 at Barbours Cut container terminal. Especially noteworthy was the addition of Wharf 6 and three new neo-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes at Bayport.
The Houston Ship Channel Expansion, known as Project 11, is rapidly moving forward: Segments 1A and 2 in Galveston Bay were completed in 2023, and the remainder of Port Houston’s work on the project is progressing as planned.
Port Houston is also committed to robust stewardship efforts to help improve our community and local economy.
One example is the growth and progress of its Business Equity program. In 2023, Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) participated in 16% or $65.95 million in Port Houston awards, representing 8% growth over 2022. In addition, during 2023, 21%, or $84.8 million in awards and commitments were made to vendors in the Small Business program, reflecting 5% year-over-year growth. All in all, 253 new small businesses and MWBEs were enrolled into the programs in 2023, bringing a total of 1,651 vendors registered with Port Houston.
Guenther also emphasized Port Houston’s commitment to external outreach with community groups, including regular meetings with community members, the drayage truck community, and public agencies, to further enhance leadership and collaboration around sustainability, grants, shared understanding, and cooperation.
He highlighted this year’s upcoming Community Grants Program, which opens February 1 for applications. Eligible not-for-profit organizations are invited to submit their Letters of Interest (LOI) to Port Houston starting that date, and those meeting the 2024 program guidelines and priorities will be invited to complete the full grant application following the close of the LOI period, which ends March 1.
Guenther said, “Port Houston’s Community Grants Program serves as part of our strategic community outreach initiatives and is dedicated to supporting and helping improve the communities around the Houston Ship Channel.”
“Since the program’s inception in 2020, Port Houston has awarded $1.25 million to initiatives supporting economic and workforce development, community improvements, and environmental stewardship,” he added.
Port Houston will host public workshops on February 6 and February 15 to allow interested organizations to learn more and ask questions about the 2024 process and timelines.
Looking to the future, Guenther also noted the work ahead to build a new Port Coordination Center (PCC), new Maintenance Building at Barbours Cut, and a new Administration Building in Houston’s Fifth Ward.
Finally, Guenther announced that Port Houston was recognized by Gallagher as a “2023 Best-in-Class Employer,” and for the forty-ninth year in a row, the Government Finance Officers Association had awarded Port Houston its Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, for its 2022 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report.
The next Port Commission Regular Monthly meeting is scheduled on Thursday, February 29 at 9:00 a.m.
About Port Houston
For more than 100 years, Port Houston has owned and operated the public wharves and terminals along the Houston Ship Channel, including the area’s largest breakbulk facility and two of the most efficient container terminals in the country. Port Houston is the advocate and a strategic leader for the Channel. The Houston Ship Channel complex and its more than 200 private and eight public terminals is the nation’s largest port for waterborne tonnage and an essential economic engine for the Houston region, the state of Texas and the U.S. The Port of Houston supports the creation of nearly 1.5 million jobs in Texas and 3.37 million jobs nationwide, and economic activity totaling $439 billion in Texas and $906 billion in economic impact across the nation. For more information, visit the website at PortHouston.com.