USA: Port of Houston Moves in Right Direction

Monthly operating revenue exceeded $20 million again in July, the Port of Houston Authority announced. This achievement was high on a list of positives that Executive Director Len Waterworth shared in his report to the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority at its monthly meeting held on Tuesday.

The Port Authority generated $21 million in July operating revenue, surpassing July 2012’s performance by $1.4 million or 7 percent. Year-to-date operating revenue of $135 million increased 4 percent, or $6 million. The Port Authority first exceeded $20 million earlier this year.

Waterworth also reported that July’s net income of $4 million exceeded last year’s by $1 million or 47 percent. Year-to-date net revenue of $25 million is up 11 percent.

Also, July total tonnage of 3 million reflects a 4-percent increase over prior year and the year-to-date total of 21 million tons is up 3 percent. Principal drivers were a 21-percent increase in bulk exports for the month; an 8 percent increase in container tonnage for the year and a 17-percent increase in bulk commodities.

The Commission authorized Port Authority staff to seek private funding of up to $300 million through revolving note programs. The financing will address the Port Authority’s most intensive capital investment program ever and gives staff time to consider long-term options. The Port Authority has identified more than $3 billion in capital needs over the next 15 years.

Port Commissioners also approved the immediate funding of an additional $100,000 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for economic study and analysis. That study will focus on the feasibility of the federal government taking responsibility for the maintenance of its federal channels alongside the berths at Bayport and Barbours Cut container terminals.

The Port Authority has committed to self-fund the estimated $150 million it will cost to dredge those channels to 45 feet, matching the depth of the Houston Ship Channel. By doing so, the expectation is that the federal government will pay for ongoing maintenance.

The Commission also approved Memorandums of Agreement with the Corps for maintenance dredging and deepening of the nonfederal channels at the Port Authority’s Care and Jacintoport terminals for up to $1.3 million; maintenance dredging at Turning Basin, Woodhouse and Sims Bayou terminals for up to $5.4 million and Bayport Container Terminal for up to $1.1 million.

With the goal of facilitating the efficient and transparent conduct of Port Authority affairs, Commissioners approved and adopted a revised Audit Committee Charter; a revised Internal Audit Charter, effective for fiscal year 2013; and internal audit policies, effective October 1, 2013.

Press Release, August 23, 2013

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