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Port Commission Approves 4 Dockside Electric Container Cranes for Barbours Cut, 3 Diesel Electric Cranes for Bayport From Konecranes Finland Corporation for $56M Total

HOUSTON, May 22, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In keeping with its commitment to continue developing Bayport Container Terminal in addition to modernizing Barbours Cut, the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority at its May 21 meeting, awarded a nearly $50 million contract to Konecranes Finland Corporation for four electric wharf cranes at Barbours Cut Container Terminal.

The Port Commission also amended a contract with Konecranes for eight diesel electric container yard cranes for Barbours Cut to include three additional diesel electric container yard cranes for the Bayport Terminal at a cost of $5.9 million.

The growth in containers is a leading indicator for the need for expanded facilities at Bayport to provide present and future customers with consistent, efficient service, as well as improvements in the truck gate technology at Bayport. Port Authority Executive Director Len Waterworth noted that growth seen in April largely was due to containers.

During the meeting, Waterworth recognized staff at the Bayport Container Terminal for their efforts in making a successful transition last month to a new truck gate facility and the implementation of a new terminal operating system.

"I am pleased to report that it is business as usual as we produce around 3,000 gate transactions daily with very efficient turn times through Bayport," he said. "With this new entry facility, we are positioned for the future to handle volumes that are as much as three times the current volume we see today."

Waterworth presented challenge coins to Bayport employees Candice Armenoff, Taylor Booe, Ron Farrow, Roger Hoh, Evan Mays and Ryan Mariacher.

"Under (Managing Director, Container Operations) Jeff Davis' leadership, this group worked diligently to prepare for this massive startup," he said.

Users can view gate activity live from the Port Authority's website, http://www.portofhouston.com/container-terminals/bayport/live-gate-cameras.

In her remarks, Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria expressed her thoughts on the significance of the upcoming Memorial Day weekend and lauded the brave actions of U.S. veterans.

"As we mark this solemn occasion, please be safe and consider all the men and women who have served our country in support of our freedom," she said.

Longoria also introduced Jim Tates, Chairman, Keep Houston Beautiful, and Blossom Breedlove, Employees Activity Committee, Hewlett-Packard, who appeared at the meeting about the same time 15 volunteers from Hewlett-Packard were planting trees and removing debris along the entrance area of the Port Authority's main gate in the Texas Department of Transportation's right of way. The Port Authority is working on this enhancement project, which has environmental benefits, in partnership with Keep Houston Beautiful, TxDOT and HP.

In his monthly report, Executive Director Len Waterworth said that total tonnage at Port Authority facilities for the month of April was flat to the prior year but with "good growth of 6 percent" in containers, which increased by 92,000 tons while year-to-date total tonnage of 11.4 million tons is up slightly by 1 percent.

The increase in container tonnage is being offset by declines in steel, he noted, but highlighted the increase in grain and other bulk commodities.

"We are seeing some rebound in grain exports, which are up 118,000 tons or 83 percent," Waterworth said. "Other bulk commodities such as coal are up 19,000 tons or 8 percent."

April operating revenues were $18 million, up slightly as container gains offset the loss of steel revenues and dredge material area fees. Year-to-date operating revenues of $76 million reflect a $3 million or 5 percent increase, again driven by containers.

Year to date, the Port Authority has realized $18 million in net income, with operations generating income of more than $9 million and the remainder from nonoperating contributions and grant funds.

For the year, cash flow from operating activities is $28 million, flat to the prior year, while total cash flow of $37 million is up by $7 million or 23 percent.

As the Port Commission meeting was taking place, the Port Authority's first, new high-tech fireboat was also en route to Houston, having departed the Great Lakes on Monday. At its August 2011 meeting, the Port Commission had approved the purchase of three state-of-the-art fireboats from MetalCraft Marine. The new vessels, which will replace the current fleet, cost nearly $15 million and were purchased with $11.2 million in funds awarded by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Port Security Grant Program. The Port Authority contributed matching funds of $3.7 million. Users may follow updates on the Port Authority's Facebook and Twitter sites as it travels on its journey, with an expected early June arrival at the Turning Basin Terminal.

The full meeting agenda is available on the Port of Houston Authority website, www.portofhouston.com/the-port-commission/public-meetings/agendas.

About the Port of Houston Authority

For nearly 100 years, the Port of Houston Authority has owned or operated the public cargo-handling facilities of the Port of Houston – the nation's largest port for foreign waterborne tonnage. The port is an economic engine for the Houston region, the state of Texas and the nation. It supports the creation of more than one million statewide jobs and more than 2.1 million nationwide jobs, and the generation of economic activity totaling more than $178.5 billion in Texas and $499 billion across the nation. For more information, visit the Port Authority website at: www.portofhouston.com.

The Port of Houston Authority logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=719

CONTACT: Bill Hensel, Manager, Corporate Communications Office: (713) 670-2893 Cell: (832) 452-5776 E-mail: bhensel@poha.com

Source:Port of Houston Authority