Port Houston Chairman Hails Progress On Channel Expansion
Port Houston Chairman Ric Campo delivered the 2021 State of the Port address last month to a sold-out audience, which observed COVID-19 protocols at the Greater Houston Partnership’s first in-person event since the start of the pandemic.
“The state of the port is amazing,” Campo said, in an address that emphasized the extraordinary efforts of people and partnerships working together through extraordinary times.
“Lead, follow, or get out of the way—that’s how Houston gets it done,” Campo said, discussing the acceleration of the billion-dollar expansion and widening of the Houston Ship Channel.
“This is the fastest a project of this magnitude has ever moved in America, and it’s because of the people and partners who are getting it done, by working and doing the heavy lifting together,” he said of the waterway expansion and deepening effort called Project 11.
Ranked as the No. 1 busiest port in the nation and known as the “Energy Capital of the World,” the Port of Houston’s success can be attributed to a diversity of cargoes and balance of imports and exports, Campo said.
“Ultimately, however, people make the difference in the success of the Port of Houston.”
In his remarks, he spoke of the remarkable spirit of collaboration and cooperation, people working together on the frontlines and behind the scenes under extraordinary circumstances to ensure the continued successful delivery of cargo, product and supplies, and of helping to sustain a vital source of economic activity and jobs for the region, state of Texas and the nation.
He acknowledged, however, that Port Houston public facilities are not immune to pandemic-induced strains on the global supply chain, but added that Port Houston staff and partners continue to work to keep freight moving to handle the historic surge in import container cargo.
Looking to the future and Port Houston’s commitment to reinvestment, Campo further highlighted the progress of the channel expansion and deepening program, adding that he looks forward to the port commission considering the Project 11 dredging contract soon. He shared that Port Houston fully expects the winning proposal to balance environmental, economic and social issues in the best way for the entire community.
He also spotlighted Port Houston’s 100 percent renewable asset-backed electricity program, the first such program by a seaport in the United States. Efforts like this and others have resulted in a transformative 55 percent reduction in the carbon emissions footprint of Port Houston’s public terminals, he said.
Campo proudly underscored the Port Commission’s adoption of a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) statement and Business Equity Program, expanding on Port Houston’s successful Small Business Development Program to target minority and women-owned business enterprises participating in procurement and contracting processes. “Building capacity is also about diversity,” he said. “If we do well, our community should do well, too.”
Campo stressed Port Houston’s responsibility for creating a long-term legacy of economic impact, by creating jobs and investing in infrastructure to ensure competitive opportunities for the region and state of Texas and the nation.
“Ultimately, it’s about taking care of people working every day, making sure they have the support and resources to feed their families,” he said.