The keynote speaker at last month’s North Channel Chamber luncheon was Garret Berg, Assistant Manager of Community Relations, Port of Houston Authority.
Berg gave an overview of the importance of the Port and the Ship Channel to the Houston and Texas economy, and then brought the audience up to date on improvements and changes taking place at the various port facilities.
He spoke about the growth of the economy both locally and nationally, which is driving much of the construction and rebuilding of facilities at the Port of Houston.
The Ship Channel is over 50 miles long, he said, with 190 industries along its shores. It handles 9000 ships per year along with 230,000 barge movements. The Port has two Container Terminals, and 7 General Cargo facilities. It also has an active FTZ, or Free Trade Zone.
He noted that a current project is to dredge the channel to a depth of 45’ to accommodate larger ships that can now reach Houston through the Panama Canal, which has been enlarged.
30% of the business is with Asia, a change in just a few years from 1%.
Expansion projects are underway at the two Container Terminals. Barbours Cut, now 40 years old, is getting a $577 million enlargement. BayPort Terminal, 10 years old, is getting a $600 million expansion for more containers and larger ships. It’s old cruise terminal has been converted to an Auto Terminal, for inbound shipments of new cars.