By Kellie Lynch
At the latest Port Commission meeting, Executive Director Roger Guenther announced several historic milestones that Port Houston has achieved this year, including dredging the Bayport Channel, record number of container lifts from one vessel at Barbours Cut, and record container volume for the year. Port Chairmain Janiece Longoria also welcomed new U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Captain Kevin Oditt.
The end of June marked the completion of maintenance dredging of the Bayport channel. The channel has been dredged to a new depth of 48.5 feet mean lower low water (MLLW), fully opening the Bayport Container Terminal to receive 45-foot draft vessels. The deeper channels will enable loading of ships with heavier cargos, such as synthetic resins – great news for Houston, which is currently in the middle of a petrochemical manufacturing boom. According to the JOC, annual US synthetic resin exports are expected to rise by 500,000 TEU or more in the next year, and the newly deepened channels will certainly help facilitate moving these increasing volumes through Houston.
“Bayport joins Barbours Cut to take full advantage of the Houston Ship Channel depth. Both terminals can now even more effectively support Port Houston as it generates economic activity and job creation in the region,” AJOT reported.
The 5,000 TEU COSCO Boston helped Barbours Cut set a new record for total container lifts from one vessel, with the terminal handling a total of 4,198 moves with the vessel. The previous vessel record was 4,153 container lifts, set in March at the Bayport Container Terminal on the Maersk Atlanta.
Port Houston continues to perform well, handling more than 16 million tons of cargo for the year, a 12 percent increase over last year. Guenther credited the increase in general cargo largely to the 15 percent growth in container volume, for a total of 1,023,159 TEU through June. Loaded container volume was up by 17 percent compared to this time last year as well, further fueling the overall cargo volume increases.
Chairman Janiece Longoria also welcomed the new U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Captain Kevin Oditt. Captain Oditt will oversee safety, security, and emergency management along the Houston Ship Channel. Chairman Longoria emphasized that Port Houston’s work with the new captain helps to continue its strong partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.
The next Port Commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 25 at 1:30pm.