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Source : Rawpixel
June 23, 2022
Author : Alex Bustillos
Port Houston is one of the top ten largest ports in the United States and has one of the busiest waterways in America. The Houston ship channel extends from the Gulf of Mexico to Houston and Harris County, Texas.
The almost 200 private businesses and eight public terminals that make up the Greater Port of Houston have made the port the number one US port in terms of waterborne tonnage, largely due to petrochemical activities along the 52-mile ship channel.
3.2 million in employment, $801.9 billion in economic value, and more than $38.1 billion in tax income are all part of the port’s overall economic footprint on the country.
Port Houston formally launched an estimated $1 billion expansion of the Houston Ship Channel in collaboration with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Houston Pilots, and industry partners. As Contractor News reported late-last year the Biden Administration has deployed the US Army Corps of Engineers to work on supply chain infrastructure in American ports.
The upgrades to Port Houston are expected to provide a safer and more effective environment for the import and export container ships and other vessels, so much so that it’s being dubbed a “generation-defining project.” It’s expected to bring good-paying jobs and growth to the greater Houston area.
The giant upgrade to the Houston Ship Channel is locally known as Project 11. as it is the eleventh significant waterway construction project in its more than 100-year existence.
The Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority handed out two of the biggest contracts it’s ever undertaken. The remaining Galveston Bay segments of the Houston Ship Channel extension project will be finished by Weeks Marine and Curtin Maritime Corporation under contracts for a combined $430 million, as recommended by the staff to the commission.
Nearly 52% of the contract amounts are dedicated to the creation of marshes, bird islands, and oyster reefs.
The remaining federal funding for Project 11 is still being sought, which brings its total funding to 82 percent. The USACE research indicates that Project 11 should contribute more than $133 million in annual national economic value once it is finished.
“It’s an exciting day for Port Houston and the entire region and the millions of people who rely on the Houston Ship Channel for their livelihood and to bring them essential goods,” explained chairman Ric Campo.
Port Houston staff recommended the contractors based on the best value, including cost, schedule, environmental components, and Small, Minority, and Woman-owned Business Enterprises inclusion.
In a previous report by the Contractor News, we observed that Port Houston authorities would be launching its new M/WBE Business Equity Program and Initiative. The initiative has created a new Business Equity Division reporting directly to Port Houston’s Executive Director, Roger Guenther.
Roger Guenther stated in his report, “Nearly 32% of the contracts will go to S/MWBE companies furthering our commitment to business equity, which is a priority for Port Houston.”
In total, the Port Commission approved $450 million worth of items on the agenda that support the channel expansion projects.
Last month, it also granted almost $30 million to support ongoing expenditures on landside infrastructure and terminal operations.