By unanimous votes, the Harris County Commissioners Court and the Houston City Council jointly reappointed Jim Edmonds as Chairman of the Port of Houston Authority Commission. The county commissioners and city council members gathered at Houston City Hall for the reappointment vote.
Initially appointed to the port commission in October 1996, representing Harris County, Edmonds was first appointed chairman in 2000 by the city and the county. He also is a member of the board of commissioners for the Houston Pilots Association. PHA commissioners serve two-year terms without pay. In addition to Edmonds, the other PHA commission members include Commissioner Kase Lawal, Commissioner Steve Phelps, Commissioner Jim Fonteno, Commissioner Jimmy Burke, Commissioner Janiece Longoria, and Commissioner Elyse Lanier.
“Jim Edmonds has demonstrated exceptional leadership in dealing with the numerous aspects of the Port of Houston Authority,” stated Harris County Judge Robert Eckels. “From security and small business development, to the Bayport Container and Cruise terminal construction, numerous transportation projects, and revenue and tonnage increases, the port authority has experienced record-setting performances under Edmonds’ leadership. I look forward to another two years of achievement with Jim Edmonds at the helm of the Port of Houston Authority.”
Under Edmonds’ leadership, the PHA has been able to expand its business opportunities to better serve existing customers and to create opportunities for future customers. The PHA received a US Army Corps of Engineers’ permit in January 2004, and began construction the following June for the Bayport Container and Cruise Terminals. Built out in phases over 15 to 20 years to meet market demand, Bayport will have enough space for seven ships and a 378-acre container storage yard. It will have a maximum capacity of about 2.3 million teus—a 200% increase over PHA’s current container handling capacity.
The facility is expected to create approximately 32,000 non-construction jobs and contribute millions of dollars to the Texas economy through wages and tax revenues. Completion of the first phase—including 1,660 feet of the ultimate 7,000 ft. wharf and approximately 65 acres of the ultimate 1,043 acre facility—is targeted for October.
Houston Mayor Bill White stated, “Jim Edmonds has stewarded Houston’s port at a time of critical growth and progress. He understands that the port is vital to Houston as a source of jobs and economic strength. And he also understands the importance of the port being a good neighbor in the area.”
In 2001, Edmonds led the efforts to seek Texas voters’ approval on a state constitutional amendment exempting all green coffee and raw cocoa imports stored in Harris County from ad valorem taxes. The New York Board of Trade granted green coffee exchange port status to PHA in early 2003. Last month, Houston’s port became the top-ranked coffee exchange port in the world based on the number of coffee cargo bags tendered or delivered for exchange.
The port moved into the top position in March and has held on to that ranking since. According to PHA and the Greater Houston Coffee Association, during April and early May, a total of 5,000 tons was tendered to the board in Houston. A tendered commodity is delivered to a futures exchange—in this case, the New York Board of Trade—without a contract and is open to purchase from any bidder.
The GHCA estimates that an additional amount ranging from 10,000 tons to 15,000 tons will be delivered to Houston within the next several months. Coffee association leaders hailed the PHA’s efforts to move the Port into a premier position in coffee trade. The awarding of more than $31.5 million in federal security grants to PHA is credited to the port’s proactive stance to broaden public awareness of security issues along the world’s sixth largest port. Edmonds, along with his commission colleagues, has directed the port staff to strengthen relationships with local, state and federal elected officials an