Houston Ship Channel Maintains Top Ranking in US Tonnage

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At their monthly meeting, the Port of Houston Authority’s Port Commission met under the chairmanship of Ric Campo, who highlighted that the Houston Ship Channel maintains its leading position among the US waterways.

This recognition was recently affirmed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in their release of the U.S. Coastal and Inland Navigation System 2022 Transportation Facts & Information Report, which incorporates the latest data on tonnage and waterway rankings.

The Houston Ship Channel retains its status as the top waterway in the nation in terms of waterborne tonnage. In 2022, a record-breaking 293.8 million tons were transported along the channel, marking a 10% increase compared to 2021. This achievement sets a new record for the port. Notably, there is a significant gap of 67 million tons in annual tonnage between the Houston channel and the country’s second-ranked port. The 67-million-ton difference is larger than 94% of all U.S. ports.

“This report confirms that the Houston Ship Channel is the vital economic engine to the nation and helps serve as the basis for expediting Project 11, providing for growth, a safer channel, and improved efficiency and emissions for the benefit of our region. And it underscores the importance of continued federal funding to maintain the nation’s busiest waterway, so it can meet the daily needs of the region it serves,” stated Chairman Campo.

During the celebration of the waterway’s top ranking, he underscored the significance and consistent advancement of Project 11 as “a testament to the dedication of all parties involved.” Campo stressed that holding the number one position translates to “employment opportunities for our region.”

In additional matters discussed by the Port Commission, adjustments were made to the contract of long-serving Executive Director Roger Guenther, aligning it with his retirement date of August 30. Furthermore, Charlie Jenkins, a highly esteemed industry leader with over 30 years of experience and currently serving as the Chief Channel Infrastructure Officer, was appointed as the incoming Chief Executive Officer.

Chairman Campo thanked Guenther for his many years of service, saying he had done “amazing work” as executive director. He added that changes like this did not happen often, so continuity was important, and “it would be a seamless transition.”

“On behalf of the Port Commission, I want to thank Roger for his service and exceptional
leadership at Port Houston. He has led an impressive 30-plus-year career, and in this last decade as Executive Director, we have been grateful for his vision and passion for the organization. We will work to ensure a seamless transition following Roger’s retirement, and we are excited about the future of Port Houston,” stated Chairman Campo.

In further updates, Chairman Campo informed attendees that the Houston Pilots had endorsed safety protocols allowing for a gradual adjustment of their daylight restriction reference point for channel navigation, particularly as more dredging under Project 11 nears completion. This adjustment now grants an additional one-and-a-half hours of transit time in each direction since the initiation of Project 11, emphasizing the significance of the channel’s expansion and widening efforts.

Of the 26-mile stretch of Galveston Bay along the Houston Ship Channel, approximately 15 miles have been widened since the inception of Project 11. Chairman Campo expressed gratitude to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, Houston Pilots, other collaborative partners, and the dedicated staff of Port Houston for their collective effort and cooperation in achieving this milestone.

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Source: Container News