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Photo Release -- Historic Meeting Brings Together Elected Officials and Distinguished Guests

HOUSTON, Jan. 22, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In her introduction to the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority at its regular monthly meeting Tuesday, new Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria underscored the importance of collective leadership and working together for the greater good. Attorney Longoria is making history as the first woman to chair the Port Commission.

Longoria
Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria


Monthly Meeting


Photos accompanying this release are available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=16787 and http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=16789

"I don't do this alone," Longoria said, "I do it with the help of every person in this room, elected officials, labor, private industry, community leaders and members of the Port Commission, acting together for the same goals.

"We will be celebrating our 100-year anniversary of economic development, growth and prosperity because of the vision of our predecessors," she continued. "We at the table are stewards of their legacy."

Participating in the meeting were two new Port Commissioners, John D. Kennedy and Dean Corgey, who was sworn in by Mayor Annise Parker shortly before the Port Commission meeting began. Kennedy was appointed by Harris County Commissioners Court and Corgey by Houston City Council.

A number of elected officials were present at the Port Authority, including Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman, Mayor Parker, Houston Councilmembers C.O. Bradford and Wanda Adams, Baytown Mayor Stephen Don Carlos, Deer Park Mayor Wayne Riddle, Galena Park Mayor R.P. "Bobby" Barrett, LaPorte Mayor Louis Rigby, Morgan's Point Pro-tem Mayor Michel Bechtel, Shoreacres Mayor Dolly Arons, Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell and Pasadena City Council member Don Harrison, Pearland Mayor Tom Reid and Seabrook Mayor Glenn Royal. Other distinguished guests included ILA President Clyde Fitzgerald, Richard Shaw, AFL-CIO, METRO Chairman Gilbert Garcia, METRO Board Member Dwight Jefferson, Sports Authority Chairman Kenny Friedman, NAACP Houston Executive Director Yolanda Smith and Houston Pilots Capt. Robert Thompson.

At the meeting, Fitzgerald gave a brief update to the Port Commission on contract negotiations between the United States Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen's Association, noting that recent meetings had been good and he was confident of an agreement by February 6.

Houston Port Bureau President Bill Diehl gave a presentation on the Houston Port Bureau Capital Development and Maintenance Survey. Results indicated that Manufacturers along the Houston Ship Channel have committed to invest an estimated $35 billion into construction and maintenance over 2012-2015 on projects that will employ 265,800 construction-related workers during that time.

In his monthly report, Executive Director Len Waterworth said that total tonnage at Port Authority facilities (excluding bulk cargo associated with leased locations) was flat to last year at 2.2 million tons while year-to-date tonnage of 29 million tons shows growth of 1.8 million tons or 7 percent.  This growth has been fueled primarily by steel, which for the year has increased by 1.1 million tons or 26 percent, compared to last year. December steel tonnage was down slightly by 14,000 tons or 5 percent compared to last year. General cargoes at Port Authority facilities have increased 130,000 tons or 4 percent for 2012.

December operating revenues were $18 million, up by 3 percent over last year, given the growth in container tonnage. Year-to-date Port Authority revenues of $223 million reflect an increase of 9 percent over 2011, led by container revenues, steel tonnage and dredge disposal fees.

December operating expenses were down from prior year by $4 million or 22 percent, relating primarily to a charge taken last year for terminal repairs. Full year 2012 operating expenses are down by $5 million or 3 percent, given last year's repairs plus fewer wharf repair projects at our Turning Basin terminals.

Waterworth reported an improvement of $1.2 million or 65 percent in net operating performance compared to 2011. There was a net operating loss in December of $690,000, stemming primarily from launch expenses associated with the new cruise lines.  The new cruise lines are expected to generate $50 million annually in economic activity and $200 million total over the course of the committed four cruise seasons.

The Port Authority's year-to-date net operating income of $22 million is $11 million or 112 percent above last year's performance, resulting from revenue growth of $18 million or 9 percent, partially offset with moderate growth of 4 percent in total expenses.

Waterworth also highlighted some record-setting achievements from 2012:

  • Container tonnage – 18.5 million tons
  • Container units – 1.2 million
  • TEUs – 1.9 million
  • Fourth-highest record steel tonnage – 5.4 million tons
  • New record for number of vessels (8,395) visiting Port of Houston docks
  • Highest-ever operating revenue – $223 million
  • New record in container revenues – $167 million
  • Third-highest operating income – $22 million
  • Highest ever cash flow – $90 million, which will be used for the ongoing capital investment program

During the meeting, Waterworth also recognized longtime manager James Hare, Senior Director of Central Maintenance, who played an integral role in the operation and growth of the Real Estate, Bulk Facility and Central Maintenance groups during his 42 years of service and who will retire in February.

The full meeting agenda is available on the Port of Houston Authority website, www.portofhouston.com/the-port-commission/public-meetings/agendas.

About the Port of Houston Authority

For nearly 100 years, the Port of Houston Authority has owned or operated the public cargo-handling facilities of the Port of Houston – the nation's largest port for foreign waterborne tonnage. The port is an economic engine for the Houston region, the state of Texas and the nation. It supports the creation of more than one million statewide jobs and more than 2.1 million nationwide jobs, and the generation of economic activity totaling more than $178.5 billion in Texas and $499 billion across the nation. For more information, visit the Port Authority website at: www.portofhouston.com

The Port of Houston Authority logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=719

The photos are also available via AP PhotoExpress.

CONTACT: Bill Hensel, Manager, Corporate Communications Office: (713) 670-2893 Cell: (832) 452-5776 E-mail: bhensel@poha.com

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