Committee Updates

Update by Andrea LaVorgna

The Port Bureau’s Advocacy Board is responding to a perception forming in the marketplace that the port of Houston is congested and unable to provide sufficient services. Such a perception has been fostered by press releases, articles, and conference presentations by several U.S. ports. The Advocacy Board presented the GHPB Board of Directors with a Communications Program outline that will enable the committee to secure evidence and factual data showing the port of Houston is well-positioned to handle current and future vessel traffic and services for imports and exports. In addition, the Advocacy Board has distributed a “2018 Export Survey” to all GHPB members to complete and return by February 28. Initial results should be available by April/May.

Update by Christine Schlenker

The Dredging Committee met on February 7 at the Houston Pilots office. Robert Baker, marine superintendent at ExxonMobil Baytown and officer of
the Port Bureau, spoke on the benefits from using a Section 217b dredged material placement agreement instead of a Section 401c agreement, which include a shorter application timeframe, more predictable scheduling, and significantly lower placement area fees. Garry McMahan, program manager, Channel Development Business, Port Houston, was on hand to answer the committee’s questions about the application process. He stressed that 217b was better for the port region because the placement area fees are reinvested in the system instead of being sent to the U.S. general treasury fund under 401c. The committee also discussed industry-wide concerns, including access to placement areas and insufficient Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund allocations. Furthermore, several terminals still face draft restrictions from siltation caused by Hurricane Harvey. CAPT Bill Diehl, Port Bureau president, will be traveling to Washington, D.C., in March with the Economic Alliance to advocate for the Houston Ship Channel’s dredging needs.

Update by CAPT Michael Cunningham, USCG (Ret.)

The Port Bureau Efficiency Committee was formed to examine issues that impact the ability of the port region to move cargo and vessels efficiently and timely. Businesses large and small strive to be as efficient as possible to reduce costs and be the preferred alternative. The Committee are Port Bureau member companies that meet regularly to discuss issues that impact the efficiency in and around the port and on local waterways. They have been examining the problem of chemical ship scheduling efficiency. In order to discuss the issue more fully, as well as free up the Efficiency Committee to focus on more issues than just chemical ship efficiency, the GHPB Board of Directors approved the creation of a working group to study the problem.

  • Date February 20, 2018
  • Tags February 2018