The North Channel Chamber got an inside look at the importance of the Port of Houston, from its CEO Roger Guenther, at their luncheon last Friday.
The ship channel is celebrating its Centennial, having been founded in the year 1914. Guenther has been the CEO for less than a year, but he actually has worked for the Port for over 25 years, he said. He was a native of Baytown originally, and very familiar with activities along the coast.
Guenther said that the purpose of the POHA is to facilitate commerce, and to create jobs. It is a government entity, having been set up 100 years ago by the state of Texas.
Although it has always been busy since its inception, now several factors have spurred additional growth and the need for expansion. These include the shale gas developments throughout Texas and the southwest, population growth in Texas, and the planned opening of the Panama Canal expansion, now moved from 2014 to 2016.
These factors will be met with dredging of the channel to make it wider and deeper for the Panama Canal ships, and will also require land improvements to handle more cargo.
Shipments through the Port now include a large number of polyethylene resin pellets for export to countries who make plastic products from them.
Guenther said that as they expand, they are working to reduce air pollution and respect the surrounding community.
A new Maritime Academy is training students for many new jobs in the industry.