Port Houston welcomed nearly 300 supply chain professionals, beneficial cargo owners and exporters at its second Synthetic Resin Symposium Jan. 24 at the Sheraton Houston North Hotel at Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Resin, also known as polyethylene (PE), is a top export for Port Houston. The symposium focused on the resin supply chain, market demand, production and manufacturing, infrastructure impact and capacity.
For several years, the port has been preparing for the upcoming surge of resins exports to meet demand from petrochemical partners along the Houston Ship Channel.
With more polyethylene production facilities coming on line in the Gulf Coast through 2019, continuing to develop the Houston market for the anticipated resins boom was the primary focus of the event.
Port Houston Chief Port Operations Officer Jeff Davis discussed the investments that the port has been making to handle the potential volume, including a $900 million capital plan for improvements such as container facility expansion, new super post-Panamax cranes, electrical infrastructure and technology.
Mark Vincent, Port Houston channel development director updated participants on the port’s significant investment and its ongoing efforts to deepen and widen the channels for Bayport and Barbours Cut to accommodate larger ships in the future.
A packaging panel reviewed local opportunities for bagging resin. “Houston is the best place to be for exporting and packaging resin,” said Frank Vingerhoets, President of Katoen Natie, who noted that Houston is the number one packaging hub in the U.S.
Significant growth planned in petrochemical production is driven by shale gas availability. The Port of Houston handles 74 percent of total waterborne U.S. polyethylene exports and is expected to grow its share in the coming years.