Updated October 11, 2022
2022 has been an unprecedented year for the supply chain industry. Port Houston is moving historic cargo volumes and in August recorded its biggest month ever for containers. But this is not without growing pains. That is why Port Houston is investing a total of $1.1 billion in capital enhancements over the next five years , and in many cases expediting construction to better serve our customers.
“Port Houston continues to build capacity and adjust to the changing market by providing more yard space, more equipment, and more hours of service to our customers. “Port Houston is meeting with customers, communicating updates and working with our partners in the ILA to maintain cargo fluidity despite the extraordinary volume,” said Roger Guenther, Executive Director at Port Houston.
Earlier in 2022, Port Houston extended container terminal gate hours to include a 6:00 am start time. Additionally, in June we added regular Saturday gate hours to our gate schedule. These extra hours will further improve traffic and service at the container terminals. We are continuing to collaborate with partners, like those in the trucking industry, to identify additional solutions to keep cargo flowing efficiently.
In August 2022, we purchased three new neo-Panamax ship to shore (STS) cranes and 26 rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes to strengthen our vessel operations and enhance logistics. The new wharf cranes, similar in speed and capacity to the units commissioned in June, are needed to meet terminal demands given the increasing size of container vessels. These cranes will efficiently service container ships up to 15,000 TEUs and will also assist Port Houston in becoming a net-zero emissions facility by 2050 thanks to full electric motors, gears, and control systems.
The 26 new hybrid-electric RTG cranes, including 14 for Barbours Cut Terminal and 12 for Bayport Container Terminal, will provide added yard capacity and allow us to maintain high service levels. Port Houston currently owns a total of 116 RTG cranes including 50 units at Barbours Cut Terminal and 66 at Bayport Container Terminal.
Other improvements include rehabilitating multiple wharves and container yards, building new yard space and wharves, and making improvements to the Houston Ship Channel, Bayport Ship Channel and Barbours Cut Ship Channel to make way for larger cargo vessels. Long-term plans like a potential additional container terminal are also being considered.
Ryan Mariacher, Port Houston’s Director of Container Terminals, said, “We are focused on short term optimization strategies to improve user experience at Port Houston container terminals, while we are accelerating our capital investments to add capacity to provide relief to the volume surges we continue to experience.”
Additionally, at Barbours Cut Container Terminal, Port Houston has invested $43 million to enhance the overall terminal traffic flow. Earlier this year we nearly doubled our in-gate capacity, adding 14 new gates to bring our total to 29 entry gates. We also enhanced technology and support areas to help expedite entry into the terminal. We transferred three additional STS cranes to that terminal to help with offloading container vessels and have established an Express Pass system allowing frequent truckers to get through entry gates quickly.
Port Houston knows how important reliability and efficiency is to customers. You can count on Port Houston to continue to meet our customers’ needs now and in the future too.