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Financial Results Trending "Strong and Up to the Right"

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HOUSTON, Oct. 23, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Financial results continue to trend "strong and up to the right," Executive Director Len Waterworth reported at today's meeting of the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority.

Total tonnage was up 9 percent through September of this year compared to the same period last year.

Among other matters during the meeting, the Port Commission approved submission of a permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Barbours Cut Channel modernization project. During staff reports, Mark Vincent, Director of Channel Development, briefed the Port Commission on the project, which calls for deepening the channel to 45 feet, shifting it 75 feet north within the existing waterway, and expanding the existing berthing area to accommodate larger post-panamax container vessels and the cranes that serve them.

To enhance community awareness of the project, a Nov. 7 open house will be held at the Morgan's Point Community Center. More details about the project can be found at www.deepeningportofhouston.com.

Also at the meeting, the Port Commission approved amending the Port of Houston Authority Code of Ethics, bringing it up to date and making it more usable, and adopted the Port of Houston Authority Strategic Planning Policy, as recommended by the Sunset Advisory Commission staff report. In anticipation of the Port of Houston's 2014 centennial celebration, Port Commissioners also approved the placement of a Texas historical marker on Port Authority property near the M/V Sam Houston Visitor Pavilion.

In Waterworth's monthly financial report, he said total tonnage at Port Authority facilities (excluding bulk cargo associated with leased locations) was up 38,000 tons or 2 percent for the month of September compared to last year, while year-to-date tonnage continues to show solid growth of 1.7 million tons or 9 percent. This growth has been fueled primarily by steel, which has increased by 1.2 million tons or 39 percent compared to last year. While this growth pattern is expected to flatten, for September, steel tonnage was up by 84,000 tons or 21 percent.

September operating revenues were $19 million, up by 6 percent over last year. Year-to-date Port Authority revenues of $168 million reflect an increase of 9 percent over 2011, led by steel tonnage, dredge disposal fees and container revenues, and year-to-date operating expenses are down $3 million or 3 percent.

Lucy Bremond, Senior Manager, Houston Independent School District Community Engagement Strategic Partnerships, presented the HISD 2012 Partnership Hall of Fame Award to Port Commission Chairman Jim Edmonds, who accepted on behalf of the Port Authority and its Small Business Development Program.

Edmonds also commended Small Business Development for awards from the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council, Texas Business Alliance, Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce, and Houston Community College, which recognized Vice President Gilda Ramirez as one of 10 role models in its Magnolia Park Oral History Project.

During the meeting, representatives from Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, Economic Alliance Houston Port Region and North Channel Area Chamber of Commerce shared information about their organizations and thanked the Port Authority for its continuing support of maritime job training and small business development.

Among other staff reports, Charlie Jenkins, Vice President, Strategic Planning, commended his Environmental Affairs team for its efforts in garnering the Houston-Galveston Area Council Clean Air Action Award for Outstanding TERP participant. Jenkins also noted another potential example of Port Authority collaboration, citing a new project for the first hydrogen fueling station in Houston.

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=720

CONTACT: Bill Hensel, Manager, Corporate Communications Office: (713) 670-2893 Cell: (832) 452-5776 E-mail: bhensel@poha.com Lisa Ashley, Director, Corporate Communications Office: (713) 670-2644 Cell: (832) 247-8179 Email: lashley@poha.com

Source:Port of Houston Authority