We face several challenges as we begin a new decade in Houston’s maritime community, and how we respond has the potential to impact the channel for decades to come.
The push to deepen and widen the Houston Ship Channel remains a vital priority. You may have seen this referred to as Project 11 – the 11th major deepening and widening of the Houston Ship Channel in its 100+ years. This project will benefit all stakeholders doing business on the channel by ensuring continued safe two-way vessel traffic and increased capacity for growing exports and vessel sizes. Under the business-as-usual funding approach, this process would take at least 10 years, which we can all agree is too long to wait. Port Houston and members of industry are working together to develop an innovative funding and engineering program to expedite dredging to begin in 2021.
Bringing companies together to promote cooperation and efficiency within our maritime industry is the central goal of the Greater Houston Port Bureau. In 2020, we hope to step up all efforts to see improvements realized on our waterway. This includes not only supporting the community in Project 11, but also the work of our Efficiency committee to complete the Pronto trial to enable greater efficiency for chemical tanker calls in our port. It will be exciting to see the dedicated work of the committee put into action on the Ship Channel. This project offers many companies the potential for significant cost-savings through better communication and more efficient vessel moves.
The Port Bureau will be hosting more great events in 2020. We have already kicked off our Commerce Club luncheons, with Melissa Williams from Shell Trading starting out our series. More great speakers, including Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo in February, are in the line-up this year. CAPT Bill Diehl will also be hosting more Port 101 seminars. These informative sessions are open to member companies or anyone interested in becoming more engaged in the port, so I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities to learn more about doing business in the port.
I am also very pleased to be a part of honoring Jim Teague of Enterprise as the Port Bureau’s 2020 Maritime Leader of the Year. Jim is a tremendous supporter of Houston’s maritime endeavors and a staunch advocate for improvements and progress on the Ship Channel. As chairman of the Port Bureau, I appreciate the opportunity to celebrate Jim’s achievements.
It is also an honor to work with each member of the Port Bureau. I urge each of you to fully engage with us in advocating for the port region and continuing to build Houston’s maritime community for success.