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  April 14th, 2014 | Written by

Port of Houston

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Roger Guenther, Executive Director

FTZ No. 84 • 429 total acres • 9 berths • 45-ft. channel • ICTF

Rail: BNSF, UP

Highways: I-10, I-45, U.S. 59/I-69

Top export destinations: Brazil, Belgium, China

Top export commodities: Plastic Resin, Chemicals, Autos


Roger Guenther: I think some of the highlights of the Port of Houston are that we are the No. 1 U.S. port in foreign waterborne tonnage. We’re the No. 1 port in the U.S. Gulf for container throughput. We are home to the largest petrochemical complex in the United States. I think it’s important to note that we’ll be celebrating the 100th year centennial anniversary of the Port of Houston Authority this year. The same legislation that authorized the Panama Canal also authorized the Houston Ship Channel. So that’s kind of a neat point. Texas is the No. 1 export state in the country for 12 straight years. Of course, the Houston region is the largest port in the country, just recently surpassing New York and New Jersey for exports. The future is really bright here with the growth in the energy sector for exports and the investment that industry is making in the South Texas region due to the shale clay and the natural gas, which is going to equate to significantly increased exports for many different commodities, bulk and liquid. Plastic resins, which is our primary export already, is going to grow significantly starting maybe as early as late 2016 or 2017 when many of these plastic resin manufacturing facilities in the area come on line for the export of different types of plastic resins.

One other thing of very significant note is what we’re doing on the container side of the business to prepare for larger container ships We expect to get the permit very soon for the deepening and widening of the Barbours Cut channel and the Bayport channel so that we can expand our dimensions of those channels to deepen them to 45 feet to match the Houston Ship Channel to allow for larger container ships to come into Houston.

Global Trade: Do you already have the cranes ready for that?

Roger Guenther: We do. Bayport on the land side is a newer facility, so we more recently purchased cranes that are taller with a longer outreach. Barbours Cut is an older facility, still very functional except for the fact some cranes are as much as 30 to 35 years old and they’re just not tall enough or have enough outreach. So we’re in the beginning stages of a redevelopment of Barbours Cut terminal to outfit that terminal with taller and larger outreach cranes to handle the bigger ships.

Global Trade: How many container units across they can reach?

Roger Guenther: The newest cranes that we have at Bayport are 22 wide and the ones that we’re purchasing, we have four cranes on order for Barbours Cut that are also 22 wide. We expect those to arrive toward the end of this year and be commissioned by early next year.