– The Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority met virtually in regular session on Tuesday for its May meeting. Chairman Ric Campo began by recognizing the anniversary of the tragic death of George Floyd, and reflected on how its impact further solidified Port Houston’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion for its employees and for the community.
The Port Commission approved and adopted a position statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) during the meeting. Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther announced a new Business Equity Division to report to him. Guenther said the new division “will provide vision, leadership, and guidance” towards DEI efforts, “with a focus on promoting equity and enhancing opportunity for all, both internally and externally.”
“Taking this step,” Guenther said, “will elevate the profile of DEI at Port Houston, ensuring we have the organizational weight and leadership needed to produce meaningful and sustainable change.” Building on recent work on contracting disparities, external DEI efforts will include new opportunities for small and minority, and women-owned businesses to access Port Houston business.
In other news, Chairman Campo gave an update on Project 11. The Houston Ship Channel expansion program “remains on track,” and Port Houston anticipates entering into a Project Partnership Agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers next month.
In his operational update, Guenther announced the maiden voyage of the ONE Modern, with its arrival expected June 13 – marking the fifth direct all-water Asian service calling Port Houston. “These vessels are in the 7,000 twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) range,” he said.
Guenther also said, “Cargo through Port Houston facilities is solid and on track.” He reported that total container volume is up 3% compared to last year, and general cargo is up 7%.”
Highlights of business matters addressed on the Port Commission agenda included renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Panama Canal Authority and Port Houston, and awards to AECOM Technical Services, for planning and design of the reconstruction of 87 acres of container yards at Barbours Cut Terminal, and to Hatch Associates Consultants, Inc., for design of the rehabilitation of Wharves 4, 5, and 6 at the terminal and Memorandum of Agreements with the Corps were passed for the maintenance dredging of berths at multiple public facilities.
As part of National Police Week and Peace Officers Memorial Day on May 15, Chairman Campo acknowledged Port Houston Police for their “service and the dedication of their lives to protecting and serving the port,” adding that “we remember fallen officers with you this week.”
Chairman Campo also announced plans for a workshop to take place during the first week in June to engage stakeholders across a broad spectrum of interests, from community to industry to assess potential opportunities that can support Port Houston’s Sustainability goal through Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives.
The next Port Commission meeting is scheduled for June 22.