Port of Houston Preps for East Asia Volume Boom
The Port of Houston Authority has started several expansion projects to meet the expected increase in freight volumes coming from East Asia, the PHA Executive Director Roger Guenther said in his monthly report to the Port Commission.
Guenther cited four new wharf cranes destined for the Barbours Cut Container Terminal, which departed this week from Korea and are expected to arrive at the terminal in early May. At the meeting, the Port Commission also approved the purchase of nine new rubber tired gantry cranes for the Bayport terminal.
“We continue to receive many inquiries about moving freight from East Asia via the Panama Canal and through our port,” Guenther said.
Dredging works are progressing at the Bayport and Barbours Cut channels, with much of the disposal site and preparatory work complete. Further plans call for adding two dredges to the project so that in the coming months, one dredge will work at Barbours Cut and two dredges will operate at Bayport.
“Dredging continues to be closely coordinated with the (Houston) Pilots, the maritime industry, and the communities around our terminals,” Guenther said. “When the new Barbours Cut cranes are commissioned, our deepened channel will be complete and ready – and the Bayport channel will also be completed this year, well in advance of the completion of the new Panama Canal locks.”
In his financial report to the Port Commission, Guenther said import steel tonnage in January was up by 35 percent over the same month in 2014, but Guenther noted high steel volumes are expected to taper off. Container cargo volume has continued to strengthen as well, with a constant upward trend in full import boxes. PHA attained 2.9 million tons overall for the first month of the year.
All of this activity in January returned operating revenue of USD 24 million, up 18 percent from the prior year. The Port Authority generated USD 7 million in net operating income and USD 12 million in cash flow.