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Business is Still Strong; Tonnage Up Across All Sectors

HOUSTON, Oct. 28, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Business through Port of Houston Authority facilities remains strong for 2014, Executive Director Roger Guenther announced in his report to the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority at its regular monthly meeting.

"September cargo at the Port facilities continued the positive trend for the year and the outlook continues to be good through the remainder of 2014," Mr. Guenther reported.

Year to date, more than 28 million tons of cargo has been handled, up 5 percent, he said. Operating revenue is up 12 percent and exceeds $195 million. Operating and G&A expenses total $155 million, up 3 percent, and operating cash flows are up 6 percent, exceeding $89 million.

Strong financial performance is important to continue to prepare for growth and reinvestment, Mr. Guenther said.

It was also announced that the Port Authority has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association for PHA's 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). Mr. Guenther congratulated the Accounting and Financial Reporting teams for their hard work and commitment in maintaining this prestigious award for "40 years and counting."

In a brief report, Jeff Davis, Managing Director of Operations, provided an update on tariff rates and recommended to the Commission that there be no tariff increase for 2015. That recommendation will be considered by the Port Commission during its December meeting.

Mr. Davis said PHA continues to listen to its stakeholders to strategically plan for the future. To address the challenges of the trucking industry to meet growing demand, PHA will expand the hours at its container terminals, effective Nov. 17.

"To continue to maintain an environment that is competitive for all our customers and supports the job growth and economic prosperity in our community, we are recommending no increase to our tariff rates," Mr. Davis told Port Commissioners.

Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria noted October has been another event-filled month. The Port of Houston served as the host port earlier in the month for the most successful Breakbulk Americas conference in its 15-year history, with a record 5,140 people and an estimated $3.7 million of economic impact to the city.

In other Trade Development news, Ms. Longoria announced a new breakbulk service from Houston to two ports in Mexico by Argosy Transportation Group's Campeche Line that has begun calling Woodhouse Terminal.

Ms. Longoria recognized the opening of the new cruise season on Oct. 11 with the Norwegian Jewel sailing from Bayport Cruise Terminal, located in Pasadena, Texas, with 2,450 passengers. Princess Cruises will return Nov. 11 for its second season. An independent study shows that each cruise season delivers an annual economic impact of $50 million to the greater Houston region.

The Port Authority hosted two youth job fairs earlier in October to give Maritime Academy students opportunities to gain hands-on maritime experience working one day a week as check-in agents and directional agents during the cruise season.

November will also be busy, beginning with the 2014 State of the Port address that Chairman Longoria will present on Nov. 6 before the Greater Houston Partnership at the Houstonian Hotel.

The Port Authority will host this year's American Association of Port Authorities Annual Convention and Expo Nov. 9-13. Recognized as the premier gathering of the seaport industry, the event will coincide with the Houston Ship Channel's Centennial Commemoration.

A rededication ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the opening of the deep-water Houston Ship Channel is planned for Nov. 10, 2014, at Brady's Landing. A documentary produced by Texas Foundation for the Arts will air that evening at 9 p.m. on Houston Public Media TV 8, which is Houston's Public Broadcasting System (PBS) affiliate. Other events include the exhibition "Stories of a Workforce: Celebrating the Centennial of the Houston Ship Channel," presented by the Houston Arts Alliance in partnership with the Houston Public Library at the Julia Ideson Library, which will run through January 2015. Individuals connected to the ship channel workforce were interviewed. Their unedited interviews are part of the collections of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The Port Authority also supported an Educator's Curriculum Guide on the Houston Ship Channel industry that is being produced for local educators and students.

Among other Centennial events, Mr. Guenther noted that employees were invited to a gathering on Oct. 25 at the Sam Houston landing to christen the Port Authority's third state-of the-art fireboat and unveil the historical marker recognizing the 100-year anniversary of the ship channel opening.

The November Port Commission meeting has been cancelled. In lieu of the regularly scheduled meeting, an annual Budget Workshop will be held on Thursday, Nov. 20. The final Port Commission meeting of the year is set for Tuesday, Dec. 16.

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