Port of Houston Planning $283M in Projects

With more than $283 million in construction planned, the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority is working to assure Houston’s emergence as the nation’s busiest port is met with cutting edge facilities. The Port of Houston has grown in the past few years with the expansion of the Bayport Container Terminal, which will ultimately increase capacity to 2.3 million TEUs, a jump of more than 200 percent, and allow Houston to market itself as a better alternative for shipping to other ports across the country. PHA achieved its eighth consecutive year of record-breaking revenue in 2007. Figures for 2008 were unavailable at press time. In 2006, the port ranked first in the United States in foreign waterborne tonnage, second in the U.S. in total tonnage, and 10th in the world in total tonnage. A total of 211.7 million tons of cargo and 7,548 vessel calls were recorded in 2006. The Port of Houston handles 69.6 percent of the containerized cargo market in the U.S. Gulf, and 95.5 percent of the containers moving through Texas. Much of that activity takes place at Barbours Cut Container Terminal, the largest container terminal on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The Bayport Container Terminal opened its first phase in February 2007 and has a 15-year buildout plan for seven container berths, a 378-acre container yard and 2.3 million TEU capacity design. The Bayport Cruise Terminal opened its first cruise berth in 2008 with three cruise berths slated at buildout. The Houston market is well positioned to attract more traffic directed away from West Coast ports through the Panama Canal, according to a Grubb & Ellis Co. report. “The Port of Houston is already handling a vast amount of the East Asia-U.S. Gulf Coast container trade and that container traffic is increasing every year,” a spokesperson for the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership said. Among the projects approved at the last two PHA meetings of the year were: *$30 million for Bayport Container Terminal construction contracts including construction of a terminal administration building and a terminal maintenance and repair building *$5 million for the Houston ship channel and beneficial use sites *$10.6 million for Bayport Terminal administration building for a two-story, 30,000-square-foot building for operations, customs and future tenants *$19.3 million construction contract for Bayport Terminal maintenance and repair building Phase I *$2.2 million to purchase an optical character recognition (OCR) system for use at Bayport and Barbours Cut container terminals *$40 million to $60 million for Bayport Terminal complex phase I stage 2 container yard for 48 acres of reinforced or roller compacted concrete pavement with a 30-year service life in a configuration that will enable flexible container operations during successive development phases of the Bayport project. *$55 million to $66 million for the design of the phase II container yard at Bayport Terminal for an additional 55 acres of container yard storage to meet growing demands *$10 million to construct a terminal administration building at Bayport Container Terminal and seek certification for it as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) structure *$19 million to construct a maintenance and repair building at Bayport *$60 million in proposals for its container yard