2018 Year in Review

2018 turned out to be a unique new chapter in the annals of the Port Bureau. After 30+ years in the Administration Building of the Port of Houston Authority, we moved our offices to Deer Park! This move put the Port Bureau in a newer, larger, and a more central location along the Houston Ship Channel. It also allows us to better serve members by providing a highly equipped training room and board room to better facilitate meetings, workshops, and educational opportunities.

It’s also been a year of our committees pulling together to collaborate and promote advocacy for the port of Houston region, especially for port efficiency within the maritime community. Member support has been critical to us in achieving new objectives in our organization and working for improvements that benefit all stakeholders in every sector of the port region.


Advocacy & Outreach


CAPT Diehl with Jim Crane, Astros and Crane Worldwide Logistics

The Greater Houston Port Bureau staff worked to promote the value of the maritime industry with public officials and community partners throughout 2018. CAPT Diehl spoke to a variety of groups this year to promote and advocate for the port region, including speaking with industry partners, supporting stakeholders at their events, raising the profile of the ship channel community, and ongoing continued partnership work. He attended the Global Resilience Research Network Summit in March, hosted by Northeastern University in Boston. There, leaders from the public and private sectors and academia from around the world gathered and discussed resilience as not just finding ways to rebuild after a disaster, but what can be done before the next one – what mitigation efforts can be introduced today to better prepare us for tomorrow? In April, CAPT Diehl gave an Incident Command Systems (ICS) talk to senior Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, and also participated in the Economic Alliance’s M/V Sam Houston tour with Gulf Coast Industry Forum planners. He also delivered the keynote address at the National Maritime Workforce Conference at Texas A&M University-Galveston Campus. CAPT Diehl traveled in September to Baltimore to attend the Maritime Information Services of North America (MISNA) conference, where he discussed vessel tracking with the other marine exchanges in the United States and Canada.



CAPT Diehl and Geoff Antell, Assistant to the Speaker for Policy & Counsel, Office of Speaker Paul Ryan.

The Economic Alliance organized its annual advocacy trip to Washington, DC in March, attended by CAPT Diehl and several Port Bureau Board members. In Washington, the delegation met with members of Congress, the staffs of the Senate Energy & Commerce and Natural Resources committees, and the Maritime Administration (MARAD), where they engaged on the importance of two-way traffic on the ship channel and advanced dredging. Other advocacy efforts in 2018 centered on communications and consistent, integrated messaging for the port of Houston region.






The Port Bureau Advocacy Board developed a communications outreach plan (including messaging, competitive copy points for members, and promotional materials) to reinforce that Houston’s port is well-positioned to handle current and future vessel traffic and services for imports and exports. Increased media and analysts and social media efforts helped boost the visibility and thought leadership of the organization and the Port Bureau’s members. Also, collaborating with the Dredging Committee, the Advocacy Board developed a white paper about the importance of the two-way traffic vessel movement on the Houston Ship Channel.



Networking & Business Development

89th Annual Maritime Dinner

April Bailey/Amegy, Lori Ryerkerk/Shell, CAPT Diehl/Port Bureau

The Port Bureau events in 2018 offered many networking and business development opportunities. Our flagship event was the 89th Annual Maritime Dinner, attended this year by over 700 guests. Industry leaders, public officials, and other community partners gathered to recognize Shell Oil Company as the 2018 honoree.  Shell was chosen because of their exceptional record of support of the Houston maritime community and drive towards improving shipping within the port of Houston and globally. Lori Ryerkerk, Executive Vice President for Shell Global Manufacturing, accepted the award on behalf of the company.







10th Annual Captain’s Cup Golf Tournament

Tom Marion and the Buffalo Marine crew.

The Port Bureau hosted the 10th Annual Captain’s Cup golf tournament on October 29, 2018, at BraeBurn Country Club; first place went to the Coating Systems team. As in past years, several contests were available for teams – including a special contest to mark the decade, a range target featuring CAPT Diehl which garnered particular interest to teams and players. Tournament team slots and sponsorships sell out quickly each year – be sure to keep this in mind for 2019’s tournament.



Commerce Club

Speaker: John Schlosser, President, Kinder Morgan Terminals


2018 brought a change in location for the Commerce Club luncheons, but the series continued to deliver on its informative and diverse educational topics and opportunities for networking. A great roster of speakers from across industry attracted audiences at the monthly luncheons this year.






Port Information

Analysis, Reports & Projects

The Port Bureau published a variety of reports and articles in our monthly Port Bureau News magazine (please see side bar for the full list). The committee reports issued in June 2018 were of particular interest to members: Advocacy Board Promotes Port Region Value; Houston Ship Channel Industry Supports Channel Widening to Keep Two-Way Vessel Transport; and, Industry Commitment, Funding Required to Implement Port Call Optimization for Chemical Tankers.














Committee Work

This year, the Efficiency Committee established the Houston Ship Channel Scheduling System Working Group (Working Group) to study areas for improvement for chemical tanker port calls. The Working Group built out a cost model to identify solutions, with a specific aim to reduce cost by 20 percent to improve inefficiencies.

In tandem with the Port of Rotterdam and a team from Shell, the Efficiency Committee started plans to test a new chemical tanker scheduling system in 2019, with a view towards furthering optimized scheduling on a global scale.


The Dredging Committee developed a white paper in collaboration with Advocacy Board that targeted the importance of the Houston Ship Channel keeping pace with industry investment and growth. The Port Bureau, in concert with the Houston Pilots Association, Port Houston, and industry partners, produced a white paper illustrating the cost of bypassing implementation of the channel widening project, which was delivered to the Army Corps of Engineers and congressional leaders.

  • Date January 29, 2019
  • Tags 2019 Jan