Year in Review – 2016

The Greater Houston Port Bureau charted new courses in our service to members in an eventful 2016. Although low oil prices dogged some plans in the port region, the year brought in new opportunities to promote the maritime community and support our members. As 2016 winds up, the Port Bureau is pleased to have put our resources to work for more members and upped our engagement with industry constituents.

Business Development, Outreach & Advocacy
Each year the Port Bureau staff seeks to identify new ways to promote the value of the port industry and connect members to new business relationships. In 2016, we met with interested groups from the Port of Rotterdam, Colombia, and Belgium as well as elected officials and media. Meetings included port tours, discussions, and presentations on the benefits of our unique maritime highway.

CAPT Diehl spoke to multiple groups each month in 2016 to promote and advocate for the port region. Audiences represented diverse interests from attendees at the Houston Chemical Association to the Transportation Club to the SpaceCom Expo. CAPT Diehl also serves on the board of the Houston International Seafarer’s Center.

The Port Bureau participated in several new opportunities at conferences this year. Not only did CAPT Diehl attend and/or present at an increased number of industry conference, the Port Bureau had a presence at the IANA Intermodal Expo, the e-Navigation and the Gulf Area event, and at SpaceCom.

CAPT Diehl once again joined the Economic Alliance on its annual trip to Washington DC, delivering the message to congressional offices that private companies need reliable, predictable access to dredge material placement areas. The Port Bureau extended its support to Texas A&M University-Galveston in their application to join the Security and Software Engineering Research Center and encouraged the National Science Foundation to issue a planning grant to enable the A&M initiative. The Port Bureau participated in ongoing discussions on the topic of coastal protection programs, considering solutions for storm surge protection and reducing flood risks.

The staff continued the work begun last year with the traffic efficiency and dredging committees. Our work with the dredging committee included assisting with testimony statements for the Senate Select Committee on Ports, facilitating a significant support letter signed by our Congressmen asking for streamlining the Army Corps of Engineers dredging placement area approval process, and development of advocacy materials. The traffic efficiency group looked into regional liquid bulk surveying practices, the greater Galveston Bay barge fleeting, and explored chemical tanker optimization options.The Port Bureau staff also continued participating in the Lone Star Harbor Safety Committee and its subcommittees, studying the issues affecting the maritime community.

Analysis Reports & Projects

Key Reports in 2015
U.S. Waterborne Foreign Trade Analysis Series
Aquatic Nuisance Species and Ballast Water Management
Avoiding the Leaning Tower of Containers-SOLAS Container Weight Requirements
Maritime Job Statistics: Houston Ranked Second; Texas Ranked Third in Maritime Jobs
Waterborne Foreign Trade Statistics-Quarterly Reports
Progress! Vooruit! Framat! Avanti! – Avanti-The Global Harbor Information Database
60 Years of Containerized Deliveries
Study to Expand Houston Ship Channel Underway
Waste Pits Create Controversy and Concern Along San Jacinto River
Brexit, Grexit, Czechout, Byelgium, Outstria, and Departugal: Troubling Times in Fortress Europa
Forecast of Vessel Arrivals
Update on U.S. Trade Agreements and Their Uncertain Future
The Ability to Export Domestic Crude Oil and the Effect on Shipping

The Port Bureau’s research team authored a variety of reports, published in our monthly Port Bureau News magazine (see sidebar). The 2016 editions are available for review in the online archive on the Port Bureau’s website.

The GLASS (Global AIS on Space Station) payload launched on the SpaceX CRS-9 on July 17, 2016. The GLASS project is a collaborative applied research and development effort to assess the practical value of AIS data collected on the International Space Station for maritime operations and worldwide maritime domain awareness. The Port Bureau provides ongoing support for this exciting project.

The Marine Exchange produced daily vessel movement reports, weekly estimated time of arrival reports, and monthly vessel statistical reports. The Marine Exchange forms the bedrock of the Port Bureau’s commitment to track and provide exceptional vessel movement data on Texas ports. Monthly statistical reports are a benefit provided to each member. Premium daily reports are available through subscriptions. The Port Bureau also kept members advised of channel conditions during inclement weather and of other incidents through timely alerts and informative notifications.

Spotlights on:
Patrick J. Studdert, Buffalo Marine Service, Inc.
Mark Knoy, American Commercial Barge Lines
Houston International Seafarers’ Center
Marcia Faschinbauer, Excargo Services
Port of Galveston
Phyllis Saathoff, Port Freeport

Professional Development & Education
A solid roster of informative speakers from the maritime, transportation and petrochemical sectors kept attendance full at our Commerce Club series of educational luncheons in 2016. The Port Bureau also partners with the Greater Houston Coffee Association each October to offer fresh insights on the port’s coffee trade. Our guest speakers this year were:

Rear Admiral David Callahan, Commander, 8th District, USCG
David Arsenault, President & CEO, Hyundai Merchant Marine America and Hyundai America Shipping Agency
Mark Knoy, President & CEO, American Commercial Barge Lines
April Feick, VP of Global Supply Chain, ExxonMobil Chemical Company
CAPT Brian Penoyer, Sector Commander, Sector Houston-Galveston, USCG
Per Sylvester Jensen, President & CEO, Nordic Tankers
Brian Babin, U.S. Representative, Texas’ 36th District
John Schlosser, President, Kinder Morgan Terminals
Ambassador Juan B. Sosa, Consul General of Panama, Houston
Commissioner John D. Kennedy, Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority

The Port Bureau participated in a new aspect of maritime education this year through helping to host three students from the University of Hawaii at Manoa for a Houston visit in May. Connected to the provisions of the grant for the previously mentioned GLASS project, support is offered on behalf of research projects for three undergraduate students to assess the value of the received data for academic research and to engage and develop the next generation of maritime researchers. The students are developing project proposals using data obtained from GLASS. Interacting with space and maritime professionals in Houston enabled the students to learn more about how their projects fit into the current and future needs of the maritime industry.

Networking and business development opportunities are core to the Port Bureau’s work in the maritime community. Our 2016 flagship event, the 87th Annual Maritime Dinner, attracted over 700 guests. Honoring Patrick J. Studdert, President & CEO of Buffalo Marine Service, Inc., as the 2016 Maritime Person of the Year, the dinner was another milestone event for the Port Bureau and our members.

Guests packed the rooms at Brady’s Landing at each Commerce Club luncheon throughout the year, maximizing the networking hour to make new connections for business. Team slots and sponsorships were sold-out for the eighth year in a row when the Captain’s Cup Golf Tournament teed-off on the greens at BraeBurn Country Club in November.

The Greater Houston Coffee Association toured members down the Ship Channel, with cocktails and dinner served aboard the M/V Sam Houston in April. As the only certified coffee exchange port west of the Mississippi River, Houston is a strong center of trade for the coffee industry. The Coffee Association plans new educational and networking opportunities for 2017.

What’s Ahead in 2017
A year that inaugurates a new president is always one that sparks questions about what is next. For businesses perched along Houston’s maritime highway, topics under debate include everything from energy policy to trade with Cuba to NAFTA! However the new year unfolds, Port Bureau members can count on our dedication to the port region. We are committed to staying engaged with the maritime community to open doors for new business, explore solutions to issues that affect maritime commerce, and advocate for sustainable prosperity on the waterfront.

None of this would be possible without our members support and contributions throughout the year. Our promise to our members and the community is will keep you informed, keep you involved, and keep you getting better at business in 2017.

  • Date December 15, 2016
  • Tags December 2016