Ports & Terminals

Port Houston Reports More Cargo, Less Emissions

Port of Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther had big news for the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority in its October meeting. The port’s container volume was the highest ever in August, while a recent report showed the port’s public terminals have reduced emissions dramatically over the last eight years.

The port handled 320,086 total TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) in August, a 29 percent increase compared to August 2020. The port handled its highest monthly total of loaded import containers on record, at 159,791 TEUs. Year-to-date, the port finished August with 2,225,500 TEUs, a 16 percent increase over 2020.

Guenther added that there has also been a dramatic increase in import steel and other general cargo commodities handled through the port’s multipurpose facilities.

The port is seeing an extended peak holiday season for containerized cargo, and the elevated levels occurring in the supply chain are expected to continue well into 2022, he said. Houston is not immune to the current disruptions in the global supply chain, he said. But the port remains closely engaged with customers, ocean carriers, stevedores, labor, truckers and all other industry partners to seek solutions to maximize the opportunities to keep freight moving efficiently, he said.

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Environmental Initiatives

Guenther noted that earlier this month, Port Houston received the draft report for the Goods Movement Emissions Inventory (GMEI), which updates emissions data from 2013 to 2019.

The updated GMEI draft shows improvements in nearly every category. Even with the 53 percent TEU throughput increase and 8 percent increase in cargo tonnage during this period, the public terminals emissions were lowered by between 15 percent and 93 percent for all evaluated pollutants across the board in 2019 compared to 2013, the report said.

The port recently received nine new hybrid-electric rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes, bringing the total to 31 RTGs, growing this yard crane equipment from zero to 26 percent of the total fleet over recent years, Guenther said. The hybrid-electric RTGs reduce emissions by up to 70–90 percent over older diesel models.

The port commission’s meeting was its first in-person public meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.