Skip to main content

Port of Houston Sees Best Quarter Ever as Container Volume Continues to Set Records

Published May 06, 2022 by Brina Morales

Port of Houston - Ship Channel

Houston Ship Channel - Port of Houston

Port of Houston

The Port of Houston continues to set records as container volume surges, highlighting the importance of improvements underway at the complex.

“More than 900,000 container TEUs moved through the public facilities over the first three months of 2022, our largest quarter ever by far,” said Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther in a statement.

The Port of Houston consistently ranks No. 1 in foreign trade tonnage among all seaports nationwide. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Houston handled more than 275 million short tons of cargo in 2020, about 50 million tons more than any other U.S. port.  

To keep up with the rapid pace of growth, the Houston Ship Channel’s Project 11 is underway. The $1 billion project, comprised of eight sections, will widen the 52-mile channel by 170 feet along its Galveston Bay reach, from 530 feet to 700 feet. Currently, ships must perform the so-called “Texas Chicken” maneuver to pass each other. The project also includes deepening some upstream segments to 46.5 feet.

Earlier this year, federal officials granted more than $142 million in funding to complete segment three of Project 11. Completing segment three, which involves Barbours Cut, will allow larger container vessels to move through the terminal.

“This federal funding is essential to keep Project 11 on track and bring to fruition a safer, faster, and cleaner ship channel for all users,” said Guenther in a statement in January. “This investment and continued partnership with the USACE will enable our ship channel to keep leading the way in supply chain efficiencies and meet the demands of new markets and supply chains.”

Project 11 is expected to be completed in 2025, but it isn’t the Port’s only infrastructure improvement project underway. In December, the federal government awarded the Port $18.3 million to develop and expand the Bayport Container Terminal. The project will increase storage capacity by creating 39 new acres of container yard.

Houston handles over 70% of all container traffic on the U.S. Gulf Coast and ranks No. 7 among the nation’s busiest container ports. According to the Partnership’s latest analysis in its Global Houston report, the Port of Houston handled 2.7 million loaded containers TEUs (twenty-foot-equivalent units) in 2021, an increase of 10% from 2020. 

Port officials have also announced plans to achieve a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions footprint by 2050 by upgrading technology, improving infrastructure and equipment, and using alternative fuels and clean energy sources. According to the Port, improvements over the next three years include installing smart lighting, improving navigation efficiencies and creating 800 acres of new wildlife habitat.

The Port is a major component of international business in Houston. More than 17% of the region’s economy is tied to exports alone. Combine that with foreign direct investment in the metro area, international air travel and other global ties and it’s easy to see why Houston depends on the international economy today more than ever. 

Learn more about Houston’s global business ties and register for the Partnership’s International Business Month events – an in-depth look at Houston's thriving international connections and our position as one of today's great global cities.

Related News

International Business

City of Houston, Greater Houston Partnership Lead Mission to France to Grow Business and Cultural Ties

HOUSTON (June 27, 2022) - The City of Houston and the Greater Houston Partnership are leading a trade and investment mission to Paris, France this week.  The mission will focus on promoting Houston as a leader in innovation, energy transition, and education while enhancing key government and business relationships between the Houston region and Paris.  Targeted business sectors include energy and innovation with ties in Houston and France. The delegation has several scheduled meetings with high-level government officials and representatives.  The Houston-Galveston Customs District is the fourth busiest gateway for U.S.-French trade, and France is Houston's sixth-largest European trading partner. From 2012 to 2021, trade between Houston and France averaged $4.2 billion annually and was valued at $5.5 billion in '21. "Our priority is to build a more robust trade relationship between Houston and France, and this trip is an essential mission to enrich Houston's ties with France and explore new business opportunities that will enhance our local economy with jobs and investments," Mayor Sylvester Turner said. "As a city of innovation, we value France - based businesses with established operations in our city and welcome others to explore the opportunities for investment, business development and tourism available in Houston. Our delegation will expand on Houston's global city status that makes Houston strong and unique." Mayor Sylvester Turner, who was scheduled to lead the delegation, will remain in Houston to attend to a personal matter. Vice Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Castex Tatum, who chairs the City Council Economic Development Committee, will handle business meetings and cultural events scheduled during the weeklong mission. "I am excited about the opportunity to represent Houston in Paris officially. The mission will put Houston in the international spotlight, capturing our city's role as a leader in innovation, aerospace, energy transition, and education. When we position ourselves to build international business ties, the entire city can potentially benefit through jobs and growth in our economy," said Vice Mayor Pro-Tem Castex Tatum. On Monday, the delegation joined Valerie Baraban, the Consul General of France in Houston, on a tour of the Musée d'Orsay. The museum's leadership visited Houston in 2019 to build local relationships. The delegation also attended a Bilateral Business Trade and Investment Forum with the Paris Chamber of Commerce. They spoke about Houston leading in startup ecosystems throughout the energy and medical sectors. The first day of the trade mission will end with a meeting with the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy to discuss energy, technology and trade between Houston and Paris. "As Houston works to lead the global transition to an energy-abundant, low-carbon future, the exchange of ideas and information with innovative cities around the world is critical," said Susan Davenport, Chief Economic Development Officer at the Greater Houston Partnership. "We are excited to lead a business delegation alongside the City of Houston that will get the opportunity to see first-hand what is happening in energy and innovation with organizations in Paris. As the leading export market in the U.S. and a major hub for foreign direct investment, international business is a significant and growing part of our economy, and we look forward to productive meetings that we hope will spur further investment and trade activity for our region."  Houston's Business Ties with France  Twenty-five Houston firms operate 46 subsidiary locations in France, including Baker Hughes, Hines, Huntsman, NOV, and Schlumberger. Sixty-three French firms operate 112 subsidiaries in the Houston area, including Air Liquide, Arkema, EDF Trading North America, Engie North America, and Total Petrochemicals & Refining. Trade and cultural relationships with France are facilitated in Houston through the Consulate General of France, the French American Chamber of Commerce, the French Trade Commission (UBIFRANCE), the French Alliance, and the Texan French Alliance for the Arts. Three of Houston's 16 foreign-owned banks are from France: Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Natixis, and Société Générale. Nice, France, was designated as one of Houston's 19 international sister cities in 1973, More than 3,100 people living in metro Houston were born in France. The delegation also has scheduled a tour of Interstellar Labs, a visit to Station F, the world's largest startup campus, a meeting with Total Energies, and will attend the opening of Rice University's first international campus, the Rice University Paris Center, with Rice President David Leebron and Provost Reginald DesRoches, who will become Rice's president in July. The  delegation includes City Council Member Karla Cisneros, Pierre Bang, President and CEO, Total Energies, Jean-Loup Chrétien, retired astronaut and Tietronix Vice President of Research and Development, Alex Condon, CEO, Galen Data and Scott Gale of Halliburton, among others. Learn more about Houston's international business ties. 
Read More

Related Events