USA: Houston Port Brings Greatest Economic Benefit for Region

Houston Port Brings Greatest Economic Benefit for Region

One million Texas workers annually benefit from activity at the Port of Houston, a study by a prominent maritime transportation economist concludes. Port activity also helped generate more than $178.5 billion in statewide economic impact.

The Port Commission of The Port of Houston Authority received the results of the study, based on 2011 data and prepared by Dr. John C. Martin, president of Martin Associates, today, which appropriately is National Maritime Day. For the past 26 years, Martin has provided more than 500 economic, market and planning studies to seaports in most of the U.S. and in Canada, Asia, Europe and South America.

In 2011, the Port of Houston impacted 1,026,820 jobs in Texas (including 174,852 direct, induced and indirect jobs and 851,968 related user jobs), $178 billion of total economic activity in the state (including $13.3 billion in direct business revenue), and $4.5 billion of state and local taxes. Activity at the Port of Houston Authority’s eight public terminals – especially its two container terminals – influenced most of the statewide employment activity.

Following the Port Commission meeting, Chairman Jim Edmonds responded to the study results and introduced Houston Ship Channel industry officials, who also made brief remarks. Clyde Fitzgerald, President, International Longshoremen’s Association, Capt. Bill Diehl, President, Greater Houston Port Bureau, and Capt. Robert Thompson, President, Houston Pilots, participated.

As a governmental entity, the Port Commission makes sure these public assets best serve the community and continue to bring the greatest economic benefit to the many stakeholders in the region, and these numbers released today bear truth to this fact,” said Edmonds.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman, shared their excitement about the news:

This new economic impact study emphasizes the critical role the Port of Houston plays,” said Emmett. “As the gateway of North America, the port has a significant impact on jobs and economic activity not only in the county, but the state and nation as well.

I applaud the Port of Houston for generating such a significant increase in jobs and economic activity,” said Parker. “This is another example of how we were out in front of the rest of the nation through the tough economic times of the last few years. Together, we are building a stronger future for all Houstonians.”

Our community is blessed with hard-working and talented dockworkers, truckers and entrepreneurs,” said Morman. “We have an even greater opportunity to grow those jobs in the future because of domestic energy exploration and the expansion of the Panama Canal. I support the port’s current emphasis on maintaining the ship channel to an adequate depth so we keep these jobs coming.”

Most of the Port Authority’s facilities are in Harris County Precinct 2.

The Port Authority takes a comprehensive look at the impact the port has on the state’s employment and economy about every five years.

In his monthly report during the regular Port Commission meeting, Port Authority Executive Director Leonard Waterworth noted that total tonnage for April 2012 at PHA facilities, excluding bulk cargo associated with leased locations, was up 81,000 tons or 4 percent compared to last year, while year-to-date results show an increase of 1.1 million tons or 12 percent.

This growth is sustained by continued strength in steel tonnage,” he said.

Steel was at 534,000 tons, up 265,000 tons for the month, with a 99-percent increase for the month and 974,000 tons or 88 percent for 2012.

General cargoes (which include bulk, bagged goods and windpower equipment) grew by 337,000 tons or 30 percent for the year.

Overall trends in operating revenue were up, Waterworth said. Year-to-date operating revenues were $72.5 million, an 8 percent increase over 2011. Net operating income for April was $1.6 million, flat to prior year, with dollar growth in operating margins for the Turning Basin terminals offset by decrease in container terminal operations. Year-to-date April operating income of $9.1 million is $4.9 million or 115 percent above last year’s performance.

Waterworth also reported on the successful results of the U.S. Coast Guard of the Port Authority’s maritime safety and security compliance 2012 inspections. The Coast Guard inspected Bayport, Care, Woodhouse, Manchester and Turning Basin terminals, with “no significant deficiencies found” for the Port Authority’s Facility Security Program – the highest rating possible.


Dredging Today Staff, May 25, 2012; Image: portofhouston