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Historic meeting brings together elected officials and distinguished guests
In her introduction to the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority at its regular monthly meeting, new Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria underscored the importance of collective leadership and working together for the greater good. Attorney Longoria is making history as the first woman to chair the Port Commission.“I don’t do this alone,” Longoria said, “I do it with the help of every person in this room, elected officials, labor, private industry, community leaders and members of the Port Commission, acting together for the same goals.
“We will be celebrating our 100-year anniversary of economic development, growth and prosperity because of the vision of our predecessors,” she continued. “We at the table are stewards of their legacy.”
Participating in the meeting were two new Port Commissioners, John D. Kennedy and Dean Corgey, who was sworn in by Mayor Annise Parker shortly before the Port Commission meeting began. Kennedy was appointed by Harris County Commissioners Court and Corgey by Houston City Council.
A number of elected officials were present at the Port Authority, including Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman, Mayor Parker, Houston Councilmembers C.O. Bradford and Wanda Adams, Baytown Mayor Stephen Don Carlos, Deer Park Mayor Wayne Riddle, Galena Park Mayor R.P. “Bobby” Barrett, LaPorte Mayor Louis Rigby, Morgan’s Point Pro-tem Mayor Michel Bechtel, Shoreacres Mayor Dolly Arons, Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell and Pasadena City Council member Don Harrison, Pearland Mayor Tom Reid and Seabrook Mayor Glenn Royal. Other distinguished guests included ILA President Clyde Fitzgerald, Richard Shaw, AFL-CIO, METRO Chairman Gilbert Garcia, METRO Board Member Dwight Jefferson, Sports Authority Chairman Kenny Friedman, NAACP Houston Executive Director Yolanda Smith and Houston Pilots Capt. Robert Thompson.
At the meeting, Fitzgerald gave a brief update to the Port Commission on contract negotiations between the United States Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen’s Association, noting that recent meetings had been good and he was confident of an agreement by February 6.
Houston Port Bureau President Bill Diehl gave a presentation on the Houston Port Bureau Capital Development and Maintenance Survey. Results indicated that Manufacturers along the Houston Ship Channel have committed to invest an estimated $35 billion into construction and maintenance over 2012-2015 on projects that will employ 265,800 construction-related workers during that time.
In his monthly report, Executive Director Len Waterworth said that total tonnage at Port Authority facilities (excluding bulk cargo associated with leased locations) was flat to last year at 2.2 million tons while year-to-date tonnage of 29 million tons shows growth of 1.8 million tons or 7 percent. This growth has been fueled primarily by steel, which for the year has increased by 1.1 million tons or 26 percent, compared to last year. December steel tonnage was down slightly by 14,000 tons or 5 percent compared to last year. General cargoes at Port Authority facilities have increased 130,000 tons or 4 percent for 2012.
December operating revenues were $18 million, up by 3 percent over last year, given the growth in container tonnage. Year-to-date Port Authority revenues of $223 million reflect an increase of 9 percent over 2011, led by container revenues, steel tonnage and dredge disposal fees.
December operating expenses were down from prior year by $4 million or 22 percent, relating primarily to a charge taken last year for terminal repairs. Full year 2012 operating expenses are down by $5 million or 3 percent, given last year’s repairs plus fewer wharf repair projects at our Turning Basin terminals.
Waterworth reported an improvement of $1.2 million or 65 percent in net operating performance compared to 2011. There was a net operating loss in December of $690,000, stemming primarily from launch expenses associated with the new cruise lines. The new cruise lines are expected to generate $50 mi
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