HOUSTON, Feb. 24, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Port of Houston Authority is ready to provide cost-efficient and consistent solutions to cargo owners and logistics companies, Executive Director Roger Guenther said today in his monthly report to the Port Commission.
"We continue to receive many inquiries about moving freight from East Asia via the Panama Canal and through our port," Guenther reported to the Port Commission during the regular monthly meeting.
Emphasizing the Port Authority's readiness to capture increased container cargo demand through the region, Guenther cited four new wharf cranes destined for the Barbours Cut Container Terminal, which departed this week from Korea and are expected to arrive at the terminal in early May. At the meeting, the Port Commission also approved the purchase of nine new rubber tired gantry cranes for the Bayport terminal.
Guenther reported that dredging is progressing well at the Bayport and Barbours Cut channels. With much of the disposal site and preparatory work complete, plans call for adding two dredges to the project so that in the coming months, one dredge will work at Barbours Cut and two dredges will operate at Bayport.
"Dredging continues to be closely coordinated with the (Houston) Pilots, the maritime industry, and the communities around our terminals," he said. "When the new Barbours Cut cranes are commissioned, our deepened channel will be complete and ready – and the Bayport channel will also be completed this year, well in advance of the completion of the new Panama Canal locks."
Faith Beaty, president, and Todd Welda, marketing director, of DNV-GL Business Assurance USA, Inc. announced the results of PHA's recertification to ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) standards. The ISO 14001 certification standard is one of the most stringent and challenging in the environmental industry. The speakers recognized the Port Authority and its Environmental Affairs Department for their fifth successful EMS certification, after an evaluation process that occurs every three years. The Port Authority is entering its 13th year of using the EMS tool to enhance environmental compliance, resources protection and conservation. Beaty said the results of the audit revealed no major or minor nonconformances, which, she stated, should give the community, regulators, and stakeholders great confidence in the Port Authority's commitment to environmental stewardship.
Chairman Longoria recognized the Port of Houston Partners in Maritime Education Program. First established in Houston Independent School District's Jack Yates and Stephen F. Austin high schools in 2009, and soon after expanded to include Galena Park, La Porte, and Pasadena ISDs, the program continues to flourish. Approximately 1,100 students are currently taking maritime classes. The program was recently recognized as a "Bright Idea" by the Innovations in American Government Awards as "part of an exemplary group of programs that represent the cutting edge in government policies, initiatives and best practices."
U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee paid tribute to the program. In addition, Carl Davis, City of Houston Community Liaison and Jack Yates alumnus, along with fellow alumni, supporters and students enrolled in the maritime academy at Jack Yates High School, were recognized at the meeting. Davis, with Port Maritime student Dajah Cade, thanked the Port Authority for its support of the program. Cade, a senior at Jack Yates currently ranked as the school salutatorian, is among several high-achieving students involved in the program. They presented a special framed print with the signatures of about 200 students to the Port Commission.
During his annual Port Authority update, Safety Director Rich Galle reported that it was a good year for safety. Program objectives were met, with a 78-percent reduction in the recordable incident rate and a 72-percent reduction in the lost time rate. The 2015 safety program aims for further reductions in these measures.
In his financial report to the Port Commission, Guenther said tonnage continues to be strong. In January, import steel was up by 35 percent over the same month in 2014, but Guenther noted high steel volumes are expected to taper off. Container cargo volume has continued to strengthen as well, with a constant upward trend in full import boxes. PHA attained a healthy overall 2.9 million tons for the first month of the year.
All of this activity in January returned operating revenue of $24 million, up 18 percent from the prior year. The Port Authority generated $7 million in net operating income and $12 million in cash flow, critical elements to funding its aggressive capital investment plan for the next five years.
About the Port of Houston Authority
For more than 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
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Source:Port of Houston Authority