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Port Of Houston Authority And Port Of Galveston To Sign Agreement For The Development Of Pelican Island


As part of an effort to promote and develop seaborne commerce in the upper Texas coast, the Port of Houston Authority (PHA) and the Port of Galveston will consider a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Monday, April 23, for development and use of portions of Pelican Island as a future container-handling facility. The ultimate goal of the MOU is to benefit the region’s economy and create jobs.

Both boards will consider the proposed joint agreement during their respective meetings on Monday. The MOU calls for the ports to put together a joint action planning team to create a Master Development Plan for a container-handling facility on the island. Such a plan may address -- among other things -- financial and operational matters, acquisition of property, facility access, land use requirements and environmental impact.

The two ports are considering this proposed cooperative in anticipation of robust market demand requiring development of such a facility in the next 10 to 15 years.

“The port authority looks forward to the opportunity to work with the Port of Galveston to stimulate economic development and more jobs for the region. Planning and permitting such a facility on Pelican Island will take considerable time and effort and we want to start the process before there is a pressing need for such a facility,” said Jim Edmonds, Port Commission Chairman.

The anticipated 2014 completion of the Panama Canal expansion will dictate rapid, yet prudent, container-handling expansion plans for the Port of Houston Authority. Approximately 12% of total trade at the Port of Houston, on a tonnage basis, traverses the Panama Canal today and based on conservative internal estimates, the port authority projects that the percentage will grow to as much as 23% in the US / Asia - Pacific Rim trade.

The joint agreement would stipulate that finance and development of the facility would not begin until after 2015, when the port authority’s Bayport Container Terminal is expected to be fully built out.

“With container cargo growth expected to continue pacing at double-digit increases, it makes good business sense to plan for the region’s long-term capacity needs. Expanded container-handling capabilities and development of Pelican Island will promote sustained growth of the entire Gulf Coast for decades to come. This project will become vital to the region if we want to remain the heart of global trade and of the United States as a whole,” said Benny Holland, Jr., Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Galveston Wharves.

The MOU calls for both ports to put property they own on Pelican Island to use in the development of the container-handling facility.


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