Captain’s Corner – Groot
The first day of summer is technically June 21. While this may be true in some parts of the country, those of us living in Houston knew it was here by Mother’s Day. The temperature climbed to 86 degrees and Hollywood was already raking in the profits from its first summer blockbuster: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Whatever your movie preferences, I think we might all agree that one of the most surprising elements of the successful Guardian films is the popularity of the character “Groot”.
I am not learned in the lore of the Guardians universe and the tree-like Groot, nor do I plan to become so. I simply know that his dialogue in the films is essentially limited to three words: “I am Groot”. Generally speaking, it is not a role that seems like it would catapult anyone to fame and fortune. And yet, through the power of expression, the character works and audiences love him. With this simple, three-word sentence, Groot can communicate anything.
This made me wonder: were there three words I could use to communicate diverse messages about our maritime community? Yes. Follow the cargo.
Follow the cargo as it enters Houston to see that our imports provide supplies for a growing population and for industrial construction. Recent announcements for major distribution centers will increase storage and distribution of goods for this major metropolitan area and possibly further into the hinterland. Steel imports appear to be in the early stages of recovery as domestic oil production becomes attractive again. Oil imports are climbing as domestic producers can export domestic oil at a premium and use foreign oil for refining.
Speaking of exports, follow the cargo, and you see that refined products have a ready outlet for exports through the port. LPGs and ethane from Houston and LNG from Sabine Pass are pushing export numbers upward. Multiple LNG projects, representing billions of dollars in investment, are underway in the ports of Freeport and Corpus Christi. Port Houston has undertaken massive investment in its container terminals to be able to keep up with demand to export plastic resins via container. Houston is the top port in the U.S. for exports, and there is no sign of relinquishing that title.
Follow the cargo and you’ll find that cargo doesn’t just flow in and out of the port of Houston – it swirls about through the shore side companies, as well. Refineries, plastics manufacturers, and packing companies are among the companies providing value-added services within reach of port access. With access to a growing labor pool, functional transportation infrastructure, and accessible natural resources, Houston can remain a globally-competitive manufacturing center.
Whether the economy is booming or bombing, just follow the cargo to see that Houston is positioned to be a leader in maritime commerce. Working with our industry partners to keep it that way is a big part of our mission at the Port Bureau. While we may not be saving the galaxy, I’m sure Baby Groot would dance to that.
I am Bill.
- Date June 5, 2017
- Tags June 2017