HOUSTON, March 1, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- The Port of Houston Authority (PHA) and the Port of Victoria, Texas, on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding for the promotion of intramodal commerce. Specifically, the two ports will work together to increase the use of barges for transporting cargo containers between ports along the Texas Gulf Coast. Officials at the PHA and the Port of Victoria expressed confidence that barges could provide a transportation alternative to trucks that is cost effective, reduces air pollution and decreases congestion on Texas highways.

Photos accompanying this release can be found at http://media.primezone.com/poha/pages/environment.html

According to recent transportation studies, commercial truck traffic on Texas highways is expected to increase approximately 55 percent by 2020. U.S. Highway 59, a roadway that runs between Houston and Victoria, serves as the main corridor to Mexico, the Houston port's leading trade partner.

"I am very excited about this short-sea shipping initiative for Houston and Victoria," stated PHA Chairman Jim Edmonds. "Traffic between Texas and Mexico is growing daily, and anything we can do to take the pressure off this roadway is important not only for the environment but also for the general safety of anyone traveling on it."

Port of Victoria Chairman Lee Swearingen said, "Using the shallow draft resources available between Houston and Victoria will divert significant traffic off the roadway and onto the waterway. Both communities and ports should benefit. We look forward to working with the Port of Houston Authority."

A preliminary analysis by the Port of Victoria, the consulting firm Lockwood, Andrews, and Newnam, Inc., the consulting firm Good Company Associates, and the University of Texas concluded that a barge system connecting the ports of Victoria and Houston could reduce current air emissions by as much as one ton of nitrogen oxides for each barge transporting containers between the two ports. The estimate is based on current emission factors and includes emissions reduced throughout eastern Texas. Emission benefits may be lower in future years or if only emission reductions in the Houston-Galveston area are credited. In an area where the marginal cost of NOx emission reductions is between $5,000 and $15,000 per ton, the analysts estimated that promoting barge transport of containers can provide significant air quality benefits at relatively low cost. The analysts concluded that promoting barge transport of containers between Houston and Victoria could also reduce truck traffic on critical transportation corridors such as Interstate 10.


Photo 01: (l. to r.) Port of Houston Authority's Chairman Jim Edmonds and Executive Director Tom Kornegay and Port of Victoria's Chairman Lee Swearingen and Executive Director Howard Hawthorne sign the memorandum of understanding for the promotion of intramodal commerce.

Photo 02: (Seated, center): PHA Executive Director Tom Kornegay and Port of Victoria Chairman Lee Swearingen shake hands after signing the memorandum of understanding for the promotion of intramodal commerce as PHA Chairman Jim Edmonds (left) and Port of Victoria Executive Director Howard Hawthorne (right) observe, flanked by (standing l. to r.) PHA commissioners Jimmy Burke, Janiece Longoria, Cheryl Thompson-Draper, Kase Lawal, Steve Phelps and Jim Fonteno, and Port of Victoria Commissioner Robert Loeb.

Photo 03: PHA Executive Director Tom Kornegay (left) shakes hands with Port of Victoria Executive Director Howard Hawthorne following the ceremony marking the signing of the memorandum of understanding for the promotion of intramodal commerce.

Argentina M. James, Director of Public Affairs
 Office: (713) 670-2568     Cell: (713) 306-6822, ajames@poha.com

 Felicia Griffin, Communications Manager
 Office: (713) 670-2644     Cell: (713) 594-5620, fgriffin@poha.com

The Port of Houston Authority owns and operates the public facilities located along the Port of Houston, the 25-mile long complex of diversified public and private facilities designed for handling general cargo, containers, grain and other dry bulk materials, project and heavy lift cargo, and other types of cargo. Each year, more than 6,600 vessels call at the port, which ranks first in the U.S. in foreign waterborne tonnage, second in overall total tonnage, and sixth largest in the world. The Port Authority plays a vital role in ensuring navigational safety along the Houston Ship Channel, which has been instrumental in Houston's development as a center of international trade. The Barbours Cut Container Terminal and Central Maintenance Facility are the first of any U.S. port facilities to develop and implement an innovative Environmental Management System that meets the rigorous standards of ISO 14001. Additionally, the port is an approved delivery point for Coffee "C" futures contracts traded on the New York Board of Trade's Coffee, Sugar & Cocoa Exchange. For more information, please visit www.portofhouston.com

PHA has a website photo gallery featuring images of port commissioners, executives, facilities, business activities, community outreach events and activities, environmental projects, and logos. Users can download the gallery's high-resolution images at no charge after registering as a member. The port website's simple online member registration procedure requires users to submit their name, company, telephone number, and e-mail address, personal password, and description of the intended use of the downloaded images.

To access the photo gallery, please visit


and click the link for PHA Photo Gallery.

The Port of Houston Authority logo can be found at: http://media.primezone.com/prs/single/?pkgid=720