Big Increase in Steel Moving Across Docks at Port of Houston Authority in July

Record Monthly Operating Revenues Exceed $24 Million

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| Source: Port of Houston Authority

HOUSTON, Aug. 27, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- More steel moved across the docks in July than any month since 2008, Executive Director Roger Guenther reported at the August 26 meeting of the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority.

Guenther also noted that PHA has achieved a record, with operating revenues in July 2014 of more than $24 million.

Steel and bulk cargo support a solid 5 percent growth in tonnage, he said. More than 22 million tons of cargo moved across Port Authority docks during the first seven months. The month of July also recorded the highest tonnage in steel since 2008, 844,000 tons. Container volume was relatively flat compared to last year, but has seen a 4-percent increase in the number of loaded boxes year to date. This was offset by a reduced number of empty containers being imported through PHA terminals due to an increase in loaded imports.

Combining the strength in revenues and controlled spending, PHA has generated more than $65 million in operating cash flow for the year, a growth of 5 percent, Guenther reported. Following the first two quarters of 2014, PHA has prepared a reforecast budget for the remainder of the year, reflecting a $5.8 million increase in annual operating revenue, a decrease of $2.1 million in annual operating expense, and a reduction in G&A expense of $1.9 million, which results in a revised 10-percent increase in reforecast cash flow for the year, topping $100 million.

"This revenue generated will be reinvested in the infrastructure assets needed to increase capacity and provide for increased economic activity and job growth for the region," Guenther said.

Guenther attended the Centennial celebration of the opening of the Panama Canal held this month. He stated that it was a great opportunity to engage with customers and shipping lines from around the world. He said that Panama officials shared that the expansion is progressing and is still scheduled to open in January 2016. 

In her opening remarks, Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria noted that the Port Authority and its industry partners will host a "Military to Maritime" career fair on September 3 at PHA's Bayport Cruise Terminal in Pasadena. Sponsored by the American Maritime Partnership,the event is designed for servicemen and servicewomen who are interested in transitioning from the military to a maritime-related field. Registration and more information about the event can be accessed at http://www.americanmaritimepartnership.com/military2maritime.

"The availability of a trained and ready workforce is key to supporting our growing maritime industry," Longoria said. 

On September 6, Promote Houston Ship Channel 2014 Inc. will host a family-friendly, outdoor festival at the cruise terminal in recognition of the Houston Ship Channel's centennial celebration. The free event is open to the public. Pre-registration is required on the Promote Houston Ship Channel 2014 website at http://promotehoustonshipchannel2014.org/events/get-on-board. The Port of Houston Authority, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, Harris County Precinct 2, San Jacinto College and the Houston Pilots are also sponsoring its annual Maritime and Logistics Youth Expo earlier on this same day.

Other events commemorating the centennial include a rededication ceremony on November 10, 2014, to observe the historic date when President Woodrow Wilson fired a cannon via remote control from his office in Washington D.C. to officially open the deep-water Houston Ship Channel for operation in 1914.

"The Houston Ship Channel's centennial is a significant milestone, and we are working to ensure that this legacy continues to drive economic expansion through the next century and beyond," Longoria said.

Longoria reported that in July, the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, was briefed on the economic growth along the Houston Ship Channel and given an aerial tour of the federal waterway, the nation's busiest waterway and home to the largest petrochemical complex in the U.S.

She also recognized PHA firefighters who worked in partnership with other local agencies in a rescue on August 18 of a fishing vessel that capsized about three miles south of the Fred Hartman Bridge.

Longoria also presented a resolution in honor of Port Commission Chairman Emeritus Ned Holmes, who was honored recently as the Maritime Person of the Year at the Greater Houston Port Bureau annual gala. Holmes served on the Commission from 1987 to 2000, including 12 years as Chairman. 

The next Port Commission meeting will be held Tuesday, September 23.

About the Port of Houston Authority

For nearly 100 years, the Port of Houston Authority has owned or operated the public cargo-handling facilities of the Port of Houston – the nation's largest port for foreign waterborne tonnage. The port is an economic engine for the Houston region, the state of Texas and the nation. It supports the creation of more than one million statewide jobs and more than 2.1 million nationwide jobs, and the generation of economic activity totaling more than $178.5 billion in Texas and $499 billion across the nation. For more information, visit the Port Authority website at: www.portofhouston.com.

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Bill Hensel, Manager, Corporate Communications
Office: (713) 670-2893 Cell: (832) 452-5776
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