Port Bureau Updates-November

Port Commission Approves Move on Renewable Energy; Signs MOU with USACE for Project 11 Design

Port Houston is set to begin to purchase renewable electricity port-wide, a move that would make it the first port in the United States to administer such a program.

Executive Director Roger Guenther was given authorization by the Port Commission at the commissioner’s meeting on October 22 to enter into final negotiations for the purchase of renewable electricity with three retail electric providers. The authorization includes determining the provider with the proposal that provides the best value for the port and entering into a ten-year contract with that provider at a cost not to exceed $35 million.

Port Houston will save about $240,000 annually by moving from a three-year to a ten-year term, or a savings of $2.5 million over the longer time. Sourcing the electricity from 100 percent renewable generation will eliminate about 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide from Port Houston’s carbon footprint or a quarter of a million tons over ten years.

Port Houston and industry leaders remain laser-focused on advocacy in Washington D.C. for the widening and deepening of the Houston Ship Channel, otherwise known as Project 11. Because of the solid partnership between Port Houston and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, officials remain confident that the project is on-track for a chief’s report to be issued in April or May of 2020.

The Port Commission approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Corps regarding design efforts for Project 11. The MOU establishes that any investments Port Houston is making on design can be included in accumulating “Work-in-Kind” credits on the project.

Project 11 plans include widening the channel from 530 feet to 700 feet and deepening upstream segments to 45 feet. Port Houston and other stakeholders maintain that expanding the channel throughout Galveston Bay is essential to safety and the growth of regional and national commerce.




MSC’s New ‘Sea Rider’ Shipping Game Underscores Importance of Sustainable Container Shipping Operations

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind shipping game: The Sea Rider. Available on the Apple Store (for iOS) or Google Play (for Android). The game provides fun, engaging entertainment for the users, who can navigate a giant container ship, collect coins and gather points.

While featuring MSC’s green fleet, including container ships and the actual MSC global network of some 200 ocean services worldwide, the game also provides insights into MSC’s environmental performance and sustainability approach.

Users will learn some of the company’s activities around preserving the environment, but practically they will have to sling the ship from one port to another while minimizing the environmental impact.

As an active member of the United Nations Global Compact, and supporter of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, MSC introduced The Sea Rider game as a way to raise awareness on the importance of conducting container shipping operations in a sustainable way.






Southeastern Freight Lines Recognized as Analytics Achievers in Trimble Ovation Awards

Southeastern Freight Lines received the title of Analytics Achievers in the 2019 Trimble Ovation Award Best in Data Utilization category at the 2019 insight user conference + expo.

“We are honored to be recognized by Trimble for the second year in a row,” said Michael Owings, vice president of corporate services and support for Southeastern Freight Lines. “With the deadline to migrate to ELD approaching, carriers across the nation have been facing this same undertaking. With our dedicated team closely working with Trimble, we were able to effectively measure resource utilization to ensure a smooth transition.”

Port of Beaumont Receives $18 Million in Grant Funding for Multimodal Corridor Expansion and Improvement Project.

U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration Administrator, Admiral Mark Buzby formally presented a check for $18 million to Beaumont for the Port of Beaumont Multimodal Corridor Expansion and Improvement Project. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced on November 12 that the Trump Administration will invest $900 million in American infrastructure through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants program.

“The Administration is targeting BUILD Transportation grants to repair, rebuild, and revitalize significant infrastructure projects across the country,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

Fiscal Year 2019 BUILD Transportation grants are for investments in surface transportation infrastructure and have been awarded on a competitive basis to projects with a significant impact in their local or regional communities. BUILD funding supports roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports or intermodal transportation.

“This investment in the Port of Beaumont supports America’s national and economic security. By investing in ports, we’re strengthening the U.S. maritime industry, which supports hundreds of thousands of good paying American jobs. As homeport to three of our Ready Reserve Fleet vessels, the Port supports sealift, which ensures that the U.S. can protect itself and its interests around the globe,” said Maritime Administrator Rear Admiral Mark Buzby.

The Multimodal Corridor Expansion and Improvement Project reconstructs condemned wharves 2, 3, and 4 at the Main Street Terminal 1, adds approximately 16,000 linear feet of new rail track and realigns and upgrades approximately 4,275 feet of existing rail track at the Buford Rail Yard Interchange, and replaces a deteriorated grain dock. By reconstructing wharves originally built in the 1950s that failed in 2011 due to age-related structural deterioration, the project will bring the Main Street Terminal into a state of good repair to restore dock service to handle military, breakbulk, and project cargoes. Similarly, the project will replace the grain dock, which is past its useful life.

The project increases economic competitiveness by doubling rail interchange capacity and adding general cargo handling capacity to reduce freight shipment costs and facilitate direct intermodal interchange and transfer at the Port of Beaumont, particularly for grain exports.

Rice’s Graduate Entrepreneurship Program Ranked No. 1 in US

Rice University and its Jones Graduate School of Business have the No. 1 graduate entrepreneurship program in the U.S., according to the 2020 rankings announced today by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. This marks the first time the Rice program has topped this category, its fourth time in a top 3 position nationally and the 11th year in a row the school has been ranked in the top 10.

The Princeton Review tallied its 2020 rankings based on a survey of leaders at more than 300 schools offering entrepreneurship studies. The 60-question survey covered the schools’ commitment to entrepreneurship studies inside and outside the classroom. Topics included the percentage of students taking entrepreneurship courses, the number and reach of mentorship programs, the number of startups founded by recent alumni and the cash prizes offered at school-sponsored business plan competitions. In all, more than 40 data points were analyzed to develop the rankings, which will be published in the December issue of Entrepreneur magazine.

“Entrepreneurship and the creation of new businesses and industries are critical to Houston and Texas’ future prosperity and quality of life,” said Rice Business Dean Peter Rodriguez. “Today’s ranking and our decades-long leadership in entrepreneurship education and outreach is a testament to our visionary and world-class faculty, the enormous success of the Rice Business Plan Competition and of our commitment to our students and the community we serve.”

The Rice entrepreneurship program was founded in 1978 by Rice Business’ nationally recognized faculty led by Al Napier and the late Edward Williams. Over the past decade alumni have created 535 businesses and raised $7.1 billion in funding, according to the school’s surveys. More than 80 percent of those companies are still operating.

Rice’s current offerings are university-wide and encompass renowned student- and community-facing efforts, from the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, which launched in 2000, to the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Lilie), which launched in 2015.

Since its founding, the Rice Alliance’s activities have benefited more than 2,400 startups that have raised more than $8 billion in funding. Over 52,000 investors and corporate and industry leaders have participated in Rice Alliance in Technology Venture Forums in energy and clean tech, digital technology and life sciences, and other programs.

2019 Brownwater University Facilitates Waterways Communications, Navigation Insight

Tom Marian. Buffalo Marine presentator at Brownwater University.

Brownwater University, a yearly collaboration between marine transportation stakeholders and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), was hosted by the Houston Pilots on October 30–31. The two-day curriculum covered USCG regulatory practices, the business of towing, the role of regional and national stakeholder organizations, Brownwater vetting requirements, and USCG waterways management issues.

The event facilitates a healthy dialogue between industry personnel and the U. S. Coast Guard, provides insight into towing company business drivers, and an overview of the operational intricacies of navigating tows on the world’s longest and most complex inland waterway system.

Professionals from Gulf Intracoastal Waterway Association, Lone Star Harbor Safety Committee, American Waterways Operators, Houston Pilots, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, local Coast Guard units and inland towing operators presented the Brownwater University sessions. An optional half day of simulator time was available to attendees immediately following the seminar at the Seaman’s Church Institute, port of Houston

CAPT Diehl Wins East End Chamber’s 2019 Male Executive Award

CAPT Diehl and Mrs Diehl.

The East End Chamber of Commerce recognized CAPT Bill Diehl, president of the Greater Houston Port Bureau, with their 2019 Male Executive Award at the Chamber’s 24th Annual Awards Celebration on November 7. CAPT Diehl was presented with a commemorative framed photograph that features a piece of a Mosaic Tile Piece by preeminent East End artist Jesse Sifuentes.

The Awards Celebration recognizes and awards Chamber members whose efforts and leadership further the growth of the East End area. CAPT Diehl has been president of the Port Bureau since 2009, working with leaders, companies, and organizations to promote maritime prosperity.

LyondellBasell Names Michael McMurray Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Michael McMurray, EVP and CEO

LyondellBasell has announced the appointment of Michael McMurray as executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO), effective November 5, 2019. McMurray replaces Thomas Aebischer who, earlier this year, elected to retire at the end of 2019.

“Having worked in a wide variety of roles over his career, Michael has deep knowledge of financial markets and brings a diverse, global perspective to the finance function,” said Bob Patel, CEO of LyondellBasell. “Because he has worked both upstream and downstream of LyondellBasell, he has a unique perspective on market dynamics and how we can continue to create and deliver value.”

McMurray joins LyondellBasell following a nearly 11-year career at Owens Corning where he served as vice president, Investor Relations and treasurer; vice president, Finance for the Building Materials Group; and, for the past seven years, as chief financial officer. in various positions of increasing responsibility with Royal Dutch Shell including as vice president, Shell Capital; global treasurer for Shell Chemicals; and Americas Finance manager for the Lubricants business.

BBVA USA Names Dillan Knudson as Houston CEO

Dillan Knudson, Houston CEO

BBVA USA named Dillan Knudson as the new Houston CEO. Knudson will oversee Commercial banking and Global Wealth operations for the bank’s biggest U.S. market. He originally joined BBVA as a credit products officer in the Houston office in 2011 and has held various production and leadership positions for the bank in Phoenix, Ariz., Ontario, Calif., and Austin, Texas.

Before joining BBVA, Knudson worked in investment banking with an advisory service firm specializing in tax credit programs that attract private investments to incentivize economic growth in distressed communities.

“This move signifies a full circle transition back to the market where my BBVA career started,” said Knudson. “I’m humbled by the opportunity to serve the Houston area and look forward to reuniting with so many friends and colleagues throughout the region.”

A native of Fargo, N.D., Knudson earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of North Dakota. He also was selected to attend the BBVA Executive Education Program at the University of Texas in 2016.

  • Date December 12, 2019
  • Tags 2019 November