2015 Year in Review


Port of Houston Authority leaders meet with UK Consul General Karen Bell and her staff after a Port Bureau Commerce Club. From left: Ron Farrow, PHA; Lauren George, British Consulate-General Houston Office; Marcus Woodring, PHA; William Myers, British Consulate-General Houston Office; Roger Guenther, PHA; Consul General Bell; Spencer Chambers, PHA, Bill Diehl, Port Bureau.

Synergy – the collaboration and interaction that makes us stronger as a community – has been the focus of the Port Bureau’s 2015 activities. Building on the careful work of previous years, we kept the momentum rolling in 2015 as the membership experience expanded to include wider support of maritime values and a variety of developments, events, and outreach efforts benefitting the port region. The spring of 2016 looks to welcome the long-awaited opening of the Panama Canal, and we believe it will be a season bursting with opportunities for the port community. We anticipate prosperous winds blowing for ocean-going business in Houston!

Business Development, Outreach, & Advocacy
The Port Bureau staff diligently works for and with community partners to promote the value of the port industry. Our goal is to add new efforts each year to reach further out and encompass more opportunities to maximize global market share. In 2015, we met with international delegations from Colombia, United Kingdom, Mexico, Panama, South Korea, Vancouver, Germany, and the Netherlands. These meetings included port tours, discussions, and presentations of the unique values inherent to the Port of Houston’s maritime highway.

CAPT Diehl spoke to over 30 groups this year to promote and advocate for the port region. His audiences ranged from real estate professionals to economists to potential port users. In addition, CAPT Diehl sits on the Texas Southern University Marine Transportation Security Board and the Houston International Seafarers Center Board.

The Port Bureau started two successful committees to study traffic efficiencies and explore more dredging strategies for the future. The traffic efficiency group, chaired by Captain Tim Downs from Shell Trading (US) Company, spent several months creating metrics for port optimization on a variety of topics from detention to lay-by berth utilization. As the year ended, a working group dedicated to the optimization of chemical tanker movements made preparations to stand up a watch-center for information sharing between operators, terminals, and agencies on the channel. The dredging committee, chaired by David Weston, HDR, Engineering, started partnering with the Port of Houston Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District to provide more effective communication to and between companies with dredging needs. The Port Bureau staff also participated in the Lone Star Harbor Safety Committee and its subcommittees, working with other industry stakeholders on safety issues.

Analysis Reports & Projects
The Port Bureau News magazine published a variety of reports authored by our analyst team during 2015. These reports are also available in an online archive on the Port Bureau’s website.Key reports
The staff also contributed efforts to grant writing projects in 2015 and provided ongoing support for the GLASS (Global AIS on Space Station) grant project that was awarded in 2014. This project will investigate the potential benefits of vessel tracking via the International Space Station and initial analysis data should become available in 2016.
The Marine Exchange, the foundation of our information hub commitment, tracks vessel movements in Texas ports. The Marine Exchange produced daily vessel movement reports, weekly estimated time of arrival reports, and monthly vessel statistical reports. The weekly reports are available to member subscribers, while the monthly reports are distributed to all members at no charge. We also kept members apprised of channel conditions during the fog season and incidents through timely alerts and information updates.

Professional Development and Education
Attendees at the CPE Certified Port Executive training program, hosted by the Port Bureau in the fall of 2015, received instruction in the transportation system as well the operations of port, vessels, and marine terminals. The Commerce Club series of educational luncheons offered guests access to informative speakers from the maritime, transportation, and petrochemical sectors. The Port Bureau also hosts luncheons in partnership with the Greater Houston Coffee Association and the Houston Ship Channel Security District. The 2015 speaker line-up included:

• Keith Meyer, President & CEO, LNG America
• Peter Fasullo, Principal/Founder, En*Vantage, Inc.
• COL Richard Pannell, Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District
• VADM C.D. Michel, Deputy Commandant for Operations, USCG
• Capt. Tim Downs, General Manager-Shipping & Maritime-Americas, Shell (US) Trading Company
• Jennifer A. Carpenter, Executive Vice President, American Waterways Operators
• Ed Bastian, Global Sales Director, BBC Chartering
• Roger Guenther, Executive Director, Port of Houston Authority
• Christi & Ragan Bond, Founders, Independence Coffee Company
• CAPT Brian Penoyer, Sector Commander, USCG Sector Houston-Galveston
• Capt. Mike Morris, Presiding Officer, Houston Pilots

2015 Sixth Page Wortham
Port Bureau events offered abundant networking and business development opportunities. Our flagship event, the 86th Annual Maritime Dinner, attracted nearly 800 guests in 2015. Honoring ExxonMobil for its contributions to the Houston maritime community and its investment in education for the next generation, the dinner was a milestone event for the Port Bureau and our members.
The Commerce Club luncheons built on its record-breaking success in 2014, gaining in attendance in 2015. The Port Bureau also assisted in planning and hosting an appreciation lunch in February to honor the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Custom and Border Protection for their invaluable work at the Port of Houston. The Captain’s Cup Golf Tournament teed-off once again at BraeBurn Country Club with team slots and sponsorships a sell-out for the seventh year in a row.

The Greater Houston Coffee Association hosted cocktails and dinner for their members aboard the M/V Sam Houston for a sunset sail on the Houston Ship Channel in April. Coffee Association members also gained from an informative visit to the Atlantic Coffee Solutions facility, touring its large packaging and distribution system. The Houston Ship Channel Security District annual luncheon provided stakeholders and guests an informative update on the District’s work at the Houston Marriott South in November.

2014 Sixth Page Clark Freight 

Looking Forward to 2016
The coming year is ripe with potential for the maritime community. The Port Bureau is committed to finding new and innovative ways to drive business development for our members and to support the advocacy missions necessary to support the Port of Houston and ship channel stakeholders as not just a global player, but a global leader. Whether your company is a longtime Port Bureau member, or you are discovering us for the first time, give us a call to make 2016 the year you get more informed, more involved, and better at business in the maritime community.


  • Date November 25, 2015
  • Tags December 2015