USA: Houston Port Commission Holds Special Meeting

At a special meeting yesterday, the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority took action on two important matters, the Port Authority’s application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a permit for improvements to the Bayport Ship Channel, and the Port Authority’s formal response to the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission Staff Report.

Chairman Jim Edmonds emphasized the significance of both agenda items in helping to ensure economic prosperity for the region, state and nation while maintaining public trust. He also noted that the Port Authority appreciates citizen participation in both matters.

“Our responsibility to the Port of Houston is underscored by a Colliers International report, which recognized Houston as ‘The Irreplaceable Port,’” he said. The white paper examined the distinguishing achievements and features of 10 of the top ports in North America. It notes that the Port of Houston is vital to the “nation’s petrochemical industry” and cites the Port Authority’s handling of cargo operations and leadership in foreign trade zones, environmental management, and security. Collier’s concluded that the Port of Houston is “one of a kind.”

Channel Development Director Mark Vincent presented a staff report to the Commission, recommending that the Port Authority withdraw the option of a beneficial use marsh for dredged material placement. The Port Commission voted to eliminate the marsh option in its response to the Corps later this month, as the Port Authority’s permit application for Bayport Ship Channel improvements moves forward.

Port Commissioners also approved the Port Authority’s formal response to the Sunset Commission staff report.

“I am encouraged by the staff report we received from the Sunset Advisory Commission earlier this month,” said Executive Director Leonard Waterworth. “The report’s summary statement that begins, “The Port of Houston Authority is not a broken organization,” actually matches up with my own observations since I arrived at the Port Authority six months ago.”

Port Authority staff is already working to implement the recommendations it has been tasked with, which will include strategic planning, safety, and procurement improvements.

Dredging Today Staff, August 17, 2012

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