Port Bureau Updates

Vision of the Seas’ Sets Sail on First Cruise from Galveston

Royal Caribbean International’s Vision of the Seas docked at Cruise Terminal 2 at the Port of Galveston. Photo courtesy of the Port of Galveston.

Royal Caribbean International’s Vision of the Seas began its home port seasonal sailing itinerary from the Port of Galveston with a 5 day Western Caribbean cruise on Monday, November 6, 2017.

“We are thrilled to welcome Royal Caribbean International’s ship, Vision of the Seas, to its new seasonal homeport in Galveston. The presence of Vision of the Seas will be good for the Island and the Port since it strengthens Royal Caribbean’s commitment to Galveston and the Texas and Midwestern U.S. cruise market,” said Peter Simons, Interim Port Director.

Vision of the Seas joins the largest cruise ship in the state of Texas, Royal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas, which has an overall length of 1,112 feet. Vision of the Seas has an overall length of 915 feet and the Port anticipates an average of 2,150 passengers per cruise. Royal Caribbean International has scheduled thirty-five 4 and 5-day cruises from Galveston during the 2017/2018 winter season. These cruises will include ports of call in Cozumel, Puerto Costa Maya and the Yucatan, depending on the cruise. These new cruises will result in an estimated additional 80,000 passengers leaving on cruises from Galveston.


US House Passes Port Cybersecurity Act

The House of Representatives unanimously passed HR 3101, the Strengthening Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Coordination in Our Ports Act of 2017, on October 24. The bill requires the Department of Homeland Security to facilitate increased information sharing about cybersecurity among maritime interests.

HR 3101 was introduced by Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) last June following the global NotPetya ransomware attack that disrupted companies in the U.S. and Europe. A.P. Moller-Maersk operations halted at 76 port terminals internationally, including the Port of New York and New Jersey and a shutdown at the biggest terminal at the Port of Los Angeles.

“I am pleased that the House of Representatives took swift action and passed my legislation, the Strengthening Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Coordination in Our Ports Act,” said Torres in a press release. “The June cyber-attack that impacted the Port of Los Angeles revealed serious vulnerabilities in our maritime security, and we must address these weaknesses before it is too late.”

The legislation was voted favorably out of the Homeland Security Committee on September 7, 2017. It is supported by the Port of Los Angeles, Congressional PORTS Caucus Chairs, and it is endorsed by the Maritime & Port Information Sharing & Analysis Organization. The legislation was received in the Senate on October 25 and read twice. It has been referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

For more information or a summary of the legislation, please visit https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3101.


Port Commission Approves 2018 Budget, Notes New Container Milestone

The Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority approved the Fiscal Year 2018 Operating and Capital Budget during a special meeting on November 15, 2017. Solid financial performance is expected to continue in 2018.

According to their press release following the meeting, Port Houston projects total revenue growing nine percent
over the 2017 mid-year forecast, fueled by container cargo. New resin production along the Houston Ship Channel is anticipated to ramp up in 2018. Operating cash flow will help fund the 2018 capital budget of $275 million.

The 2018 capital improvement program includes strategic project investments supporting new growth opportunities, recapitalization projects to help sustain high service and enhance productivity levels, and channel development projects for development at container terminals and dredged area material program (DAMP).

Lastly, the Port Commission authorized an increase to Tariff Nos. 8, 14, and 15 effective January 1, 2018. The tariff increase will be at an amount equal to the change in the Consumer Price Index average for a 12-month period ending October 2017as published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on or about Nov. 15, 2017. The tariff increase enables Port Houston to remain competitive to continue to meet the increasing demands of the maritime trades.

Following the meeting, Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther noted Port Houston surpassed handling two million twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) in October, an especially noteworthy milestone as it was achieved during an unprecedented time. Port Houston expects to finish 2017 in excess of 2.4 million TEUs.


Christine Schlenker, GHPB, receives Nonprofit Scholarship from Texas A&M.

Scholarship recipients: Christina, Gopakumar, and Christine

Christine Schlenker, Director of Special Projects and Communications at the Greater Houston Port Bureau, was awarded a nonprofit scholarship for Texas A&M University’s Master of Science in Analytics. She and two other nonprofit professionals were chosen out of a competitive pool of applicants for the scholarship. The MS Analytics program is offered by the Department of Statistics in partnership with the Mays Business School and is designed to provide comprehensive and balanced training in statistical modeling and predictive analysis to create data scientists that will be thought-leaders and innovators.

In addition to enhancing the existing professional services offered to Port Bureau members, Christine’s analytics skills will be applied to port-wide issues such as the chemical tanker efficiency project here at the Greater Houston Port Bureau. “I am excited about the opportunity to help our Port Bureau members use big data analytics to provide insight, cost savings, and efficiencies for their businesses,” said Christine.

Christine joined the Port Bureau in 2012 and currently manages research, special projects, events, and business development initiatives at GHPB. She has earned an MA Economics, BS Economics, and BA Communications from the University of Houston.

  • Date December 19, 2017
  • Tags Dec 2017-Jan 2018