Notable accomplishments in revenue generation, cargo throughput, professional performance and international recognition highlighted today’s monthly meeting of the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority (PHA).
Executive Director Roger Guenther, in his first meeting since being named to the post, characterized January’s numbers as “a very exciting start to the new year” with operating revenue of more than $20 million. Guenther cited across-the-board increases in all major areas of cargo as the driver behind a 3-million-ton month for January, which was 15 percent higher than the year before.
A contributor to that January figure was 400,000 tons of steel handled, yielding a 36-percent increase at a time when steel numbers were expected to drop due to leveling off of drilling activities.
Bulk cargo of 1 million tons was 30 percent higher, fueled by strong performances in coal, grain and pet coke. Overhead expenses were down 10 percent compared to January 2013, contributing to a $9 million bottom line of cash flow. Guenther cautioned that while the numbers are encouraging, the trends tend to be cyclical.
The January numbers released today follow the record throughput of nearly 2 million container TEU’s at the Port Authority’s Bayport and Barbours Cut container terminals in 2013 (1,950,071 which includes containers handled by a third party lessee). The Port Authority’s loaded container units grew by 6.1% in 2013 outpacing both the East Coast and West Coast based on JOC PIERS data.
During today’s meeting Colliers International presented the Port Commission with its designation as the “Gulf’s Darn Profitable Port.”
Additionally, Chairman Janiece Longoria cited the latest U.S. Census Bureau data showing Texas leads the nation in exports for the 12th consecutive year. The state’s export revenue HYPERLINK “http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/highlights/congressional.html"totaled $279.7 billion last year, up $14.3 billion, or 5.4 percent, from 2012. California came in second, but well behind Texas. The Port of Houston has led the state in exports during that 12-year span and the Houston region led the nation in that category in 2012.
Longoria also noted briefings the Port Authority held for Acting U.S. Maritime Administrator Paul (Chip) Jaenichen and his staff, along with Texas Department of Transportation officials at Bayport Container Terminal.
Longoria explained that the Maritime Administration (MARAD) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation responsible for promoting waterborne transportation and ensuring that it is effectively integrated into the nation’s transportation system.
“We engaged the Administrator in a roundtable discussion focusing on the Port Authority’s Wharf 2 extension project at Bayport that received a 10-million-dollar TIGER grant,” Longoria said. “We also provided the Administrator and TxDOT guests an overview of our port and its economic benefits to the state and nation.
“We also had an engaging visit with Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick,” Longoria continued, “in which we highlighted the port’s economic strength and global reach and its impact on Texas. Commissioner Craddick was also briefed on the activity of manufacturers along the Houston Ship Channel.”
Colliers International Principal Director Michael Taetz, Industrial Specialist Brad Beauchamp and Marketing Director Crissy Nolen presented Port Commissioners with a certificate recognizing the Port Authority as the commercial real estate services firm’s 2013 “Gulf’s Darn Profitable” port.
Colliers also recognized the Port of Houston as the nation’s “Most Irreplaceable Port,” in 2012.
“We are proud to be a part of this market and we wish you continued success,” Taetz told Port Commissioners. “We have 13,500 employees worldwide; that’s a lot of people working behind the scenes to support your efforts.”
Other achievements at today’s meeting included:
Recognition of the Port Authority’s financial accounting team earning the Annual Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the 39th consecutive year. The award is given by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. Its purpose is to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal.
The recognition of Port Police Chief Mark Smith, who graduated from Executive Leaders Program at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security.