HOUSTON, Sept. 29, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- At today's public meeting of the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority, Chairman Janiece Longoria announced completion of the deepening and widening of Barbours Cut channel, making Barbours Cut Container Terminal the Port Authority's first 45-foot deep draft container facility. Chairman Longoria remarked, "The increased vessel operating depth at 45 feet will significantly improve efficiency of ships calling at Barbours Cut and opens the door for future classes of larger ships to call."
The Port Authority handles 67 percent of all containerized cargo in the U.S. Gulf, and Barbours Cut is its largest container terminal. Improvements to the Barbours Cut channel are projected to result in over $900 million in combined local, state and national economic benefits over the next 50 years, according to a study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
Completion of this work followed the Port Commission award last year of a $68.9 million construction contract for Bayport and Barbours Cut channel and terminal improvements. "This investment further demonstrates the Port Authority's commitment to drive economic prosperity for the region and helps ensure that the Port Authority is America's distribution hub for the next generation," Chairman Longoria further stated. The Bayport channel dredging, promising even more regional growth, is scheduled to be completed in 2016.
In other matters, the Chairman also announced the outcome of the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) Transportation Policy Council's 2015 Call for Projects: the Broadway Second Main Track project was approved and funded for construction in 2016. H-GAC also recommended funding the Federal Road Grade Separation in 2017. "Moving these two freight projects forward was an important step in ensuring that Texas ports maintain the competitiveness of the transportation network," Chairman Longoria said.
In his report to the Port Commission, Executive Director Roger Guenther highlighted business and operational performance through August. "A diverse business portfolio has served the Port Authority well across operating segments, as we move through cyclical periods of trade through our region," Guenther shared. "Container terminals continue to show solid growth rates through August."
"Steel volume reached a record high last year, but is down 10 percent through August versus 2014," Guenther reported. "The softening in steel reflects a return to a normal growth pattern." Guenther noted. Port Authority-operated facilities cargo tonnage over exceeds 21 million tons for the year, reflecting an increase of eight percent versus 2014 results.
Concluding his report, Guenther remarked that the USACE announced the Assumption of Maintenance (AOM) of the Jacintoport Channel. The USACE will now be responsible for the cost of channel maintenance dredging, saving the Port Authority about $1 million in dredging costs over the next decade. The AOM for Jacintoport, combined with the anticipated AOM for Barbours Cut and Bayport channels (when finished) will relieve the Port Authority of more than $50 million in potential dredging costs over the next ten years.
During the meeting, among other items on the agenda the Port Commission approved two construction contracts for the Bayport Container Terminal, further supporting continued infrastructure improvement projects at that terminal. The construction of Freight Station Road, along with the construction of eight inbound lanes for the Bayport entry gate, will further enhance terminal capabilities as well as customer service for terminal users.
Port Commissioner Clyde Fitzgerald was presented with a resolution from the Port Commission recognizing his service to the International Longshoremen's Association South Atlantic and Gulf Coast District. Fitzgerald, a longshoreman for more than 50 years, recently retired from his post as president, after serving in that office since 2002.
The Port of Houston Authority, home to the largest breakbulk terminal in the nation, is host of the annual Breakbulk Americas Conference October 5-8 in Houston. www.portofhouston.com
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