Activities at the Port of Houston were the subject of the talk last Friday, at the North Channel Chamber’s monthly luncheon. The guest speaker was Leslie Herbst, Community Relations Manager for the Port of Houston Authority.
Herbst reviewed the history of the Port, with antique photos of some of the first facilities and loads. The Port recently celebrated its 100th birthday, she said.
Congressman Thomas Bell brought representatives from Congress to the Ship Channel area in 1912, and got federal money to dredge and expand the facility into a deep water port. Bell is also known for the city named for him, Tomball. The original channel was dredged to 25’ depth, adequate for ships of the day. It was officially opened by the president in 1914.
Herbst said that the Port is one of the four pillars of the Houston Economy, along with NASA and the oil and gas industry.
In 1956 a revolution occurred, as the first container loads made their way up the channel.
The Ship Channel is home to over 150 terminal companies, and 8 terminals that belong to the Port Authority. It is said that over one million jobs in the region are a result of activity at the Port.
To keep up with the expansion of container business, and the new SuperMax ships crossing the Panama Canal, the Port has installed four SuperMax cranes at Barbers Cut, and plans on 4 more at the Bayport terminal before the end of the year.