Lloyd’s Names Houston ‘Port Operator Of The Year

Port Houston was named Port Operator of the Year during Lloyd’s List’s 2018 Americas Awards. The awards ceremony was held in Houston on May 23. The Port Operator of the Year Award recognizes the operator that has maintained the highest standards of operational efficiency and customer service throughout the year. Finalists for the awards were chosen by a panel of industry executives.

The judges commented that this year’s decision-making process was extremely difficult because there were so many qualified entrants, “reflecting the dynamic nature of the industry at this time and a quest for excellence in shipping.” Criteria include exceptional innovation, improved efficiency, profitability and successful investment in port operations.

“Operational excellence and our deep commitment to the customer has been recognized again, but the proof and true recognition is in the numbers,” said Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther. “Our customers continue choosing Port Houston and the all-water services calling our facilities above all other options as the best gateway to import and export their cargo.”
Due to ongoing growth, Port Houston has been expanding and adding infrastructure in recent years.

Fastest-Growing Import Port

Port Houston’s loaded container imports for 2017 increased by 22 percent, positioning the port as the No. 1 import port in the country in terms of growth. Loaded container exports grew by 5 percent, helping lead to a 13 percent year-over-year growth rate for container throughput.

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Much of the import growth can be attributed to the strengthening East Asia market. Inbound transpacific 20-foot-equivalent unit (TEU) volumes to Port Houston increased by 32 percent in 2017. East Asian imports represents 41 percent of total inbound loaded TEUs.

Houston’s import growth over the last several years has shifted the balance to imports at Port Houston. Projections are that import growth will continue, creating a strong surplus of equipment to meet new demand from Houston’s growing plastics exports.

Also in 2017, Port Houston completed dredging projects at both Barbours Cut and Bayport, allowing the port to service larger, deeper draft vessels.

Development Plan

Port Houston’s 10-year development plan includes an investment of nearly $1.2 billion for more ship-to-shore cranes, rubber-tired gantry cranes, container yard space expansion and technology.

The port has a $275 million capital improvement plan for 2018, with most of the funds being used for improvements and expansion at the Bayport and Barbours Cut Container Terminals. Some of these projects include increasing container yard capacity, wharf expansions and additional super post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes.

Three new neoPanamax ship-to-shore cranes capable of working the next generation of larger container vessels are being delivered this summer, bringing the port’s STS crane fleet to 26.