Port of Houston

Port of Houston

The Port of Houston is the major container gateway for Texas, and the 100 million people who live between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. It handles about two-thirds of all the containerized cargo in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

Servicing all major trading lanes, Houston offers shippers direct connections by highways (Interstates to both east and west coasts; and northwards to the midwest) and railways connecting Texas to the southeast, the midwest and the southwest. Mexico is the Greater Houston region’s top foreign trading partner, followed by China, Brazil, the Netherlands and South Korea.

Houston has long been considered the capital of virtually every segment of the US energy industry, including exploration, production, transmission, marketing, supply, and technology. As a result, the Port of Houston is a major gateway for US trade in petroleum products such as petrochemical resins used by industry. Texas also produces more cotton than any other state, and the city has long been a center of the cotton trade.

The Port of Houston’s two container-handling facilities are port-owned and operated. Barbours Cut Container Terminal, located at the mouth of Galveston Bay, is 3.5 hours sailing time to open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Its six berths provide 6,000 feet of continuous quay. The facility also includes a roll-on/roll-off platform, a LASH dock, over 200 acres of paved marshaling area and over 250,000 square feet of warehouse space. Intermodal rail service is available via the 42-acre near-dock rail ramp with working tracks and spurs connecting terminal warehouses.

Bayport Container Terminal, when fully developed, will have a total of seven container berths with the capacity to handle 2.3 million TEUs on a complex which includes 376 acres of container yard and a 123-acre intermodal facility. The terminal features electronic data interchange capabilities and a computerized inventory control system that tracks the status and location of individual containers.

The Port of Houston’s rail facility is located near the Barbours Cut Container Terminal dock. The primary railroad companies are BNSF, Union Pacific, and the PTRA (Port Terminal Railroad Association), which provides access to the industries along the Houston Ship Channel for railroads entering Houston. Straddling both sides of the Channel, PTRA services more than 200 local customers from 7 serving yards, while maintaining more than 150 miles of track and 20 bridges.

A surge in oil and gas drilling in West Texas has created a steady stream of cheap natural gas liquids to turn into feedstocks for plastics, building materials and consumer goods. Major Houston-area producers are investing billions of dollars in their local facilities to meet growing demand from Asia and South America.  

 

11 Nov 2021
Strong growth in imports and a slight decline in exports over the past few years have thrown off the once balanced import-export flow in the US Gulf Coast, exposing Houston to the same terminal space issues and equipment imbalances that have plagued other import-dependent ports in 2021
26 Oct 2021
Despite a drop in total US containerized resin exports during the first seven months of 2021, volumes through Charleston, Virginia, and Savannah increased thanks to new packaging plants in those areas.
13 Aug 2021
Although US imports from Asia have returned to single-digit growth after 11 consecutive months of double-digit increases, the cargo base is so large that even incremental growth this peak season will result in record import volumes.
09 Aug 2021
Texas Governor Greg Abbott will extend for another 30 days a waiver that allows truckers to exceed federally regulated service hours as the Port of Houston deals with heavy cargo volumes.
28 Jul 2021
The Port of Houston’s two container terminals are expected to reopen tomorrow after software and hardware outages forced the closure of the gates.
27 Jul 2021
The reopening of the US and European economies after last year’s COVID-19 lockdowns spurred a resurgence in the trans-Atlantic container trade as business activity in two of the world’s largest economies showed better than expected growth in May, with increases concentrated at US ports that have undergone major expansions.
30 Jun 2021
Houston pilots said they will allow larger ships to transit the ship channel in a nod to ease a restriction that was seen as falling unfairly on the container shipping industry.
15 Jun 2021
An expected increase in resin exports out of Houston and other Gulf Coast gateways appears to be taking longer than expected as resin producers seek to supply domestic customers first.
20 Apr 2021
A new all-water service from Asia will boost the volume of imports flowing into the US Gulf Coast amid an ongoing boom in regional import distribution capacity.
26 Jan 2021
National Shipping of America (NSA) made its inaugural call to Port Everglades last week after the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) designated the South Florida port as part of the country’s so-called Marine Highway system on Jan. 8.
07 Jan 2021
Federal Maritime Commissioner Carl Bentzel is looking into ways that Houston could handle larger vessels before a widening project is complete, given a Texas law that puts size limits on port calls.
04 Jan 2021
Expecting a return to volume growth, the ports of Houston and New Orleans are dredging and enhancing terminals to allow calls from larger vessels, while Tampa Bay will add capacity through new truck gates and additional gantry cranes, among other projects.
23 Dec 2020
Unprecedented trans-Pacific volumes and steadily growing exports of petrochemicals, agricultural products, and resins have prompted members of THE Alliance to launch a new direct service between Asia and the US Gulf.
30 Nov 2020
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on demand in the United States and the Caribbean and Central America caused two-way trade between the regions to contract in the first nine months of 2020.
02 Nov 2020
The busiest US Gulf Coast ports saw only a small decline in throughput during the first seven months of the year despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer demand in the US and abroad.
04 Jun 2020
All 10 of the busiest US cargo ports registered declines in container volumes in early 2020, with only modest improvement forecasted for the second half of the year due to a muted peak season.
29 May 2020
The main concern for US resin producers in 2019 was an increase in Chinese import tariffs, but that has been overshadowed by macro-economic concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
26 May 2020
Increased import tariffs on Chinese-made toys in 2019 caused some shippers to shift sourcing to Vietnam, accelerating the diversion of those cargoes from Los Angeles and Long Beach to ports on the East and Gulf coasts.
21 May 2020
The savings afforded by the safe harbor tax credit has US solar energy developers rethinking traditional project logistics processes, purchasing and importing materials much earlier in the construction cycle.
04 May 2020
The years-long market share bleed from North America’s traditional West Coast container gateways continued in 2019, with Savannah, Houston and Prince Rupert the main beneficiaries.
24 Apr 2020
The need to widen the channel gained urgency last year when a group of non-container businesses that rely on the port expressed concerns their cargoes would be squeezed by the increasing size and number of container ships moving through Houston.
24 Apr 2020
A new international distribution center in Houston blends US trucking and containerized imports as less-than-truckload carrier Averitt reaches deeper into US consumer markets.
14 Apr 2020
The strong growth in US resin exports of the last two years could falter in 2020 as overseas production gets cheaper due to the fall in oil prices and demand weakens amid the global recessionary pressures from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
13 Apr 2020
The ports of Houston, Mobile, and New Orleans will likely find the strong growth they enjoyed in 2019 difficult to replicate this year as US ports confront the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on supply chains.
20 Mar 2020
Workers at ports, warehouses, and trucking companies are receiving exemptions from state “stay-at-home” mandates because they are judged as essential to the US supply chain.
19 Mar 2020
The 23-hour shutdown of two Houston container terminals spotlighted a potential new risk of disruption for all ports as they already face the possibility of coronavirus-related supply chain disruptions such as blank sailings, an excess of containers, and cargo surges.
21 Feb 2020
The Port of Houston says a group of non-container stakeholders should revise its plan for the authority to float a $500 million bond for the project to widen the port channel, saying that under the plan the port would then be responsible if payments were not made.
Houston gets $21.8 million federal grant for terminal expansion
14 Feb 2020
The Port of Houston has been awarded a $21.8 million federal grant to help fund the extension of a berth at the Bayport Container Terminal.
29 Jan 2020
Advancing the project to widen its shipping channel is the top priority for the Port of Houston in 2020 as it faces rapidly growing cargo volumes.
07 Jan 2020
US Department of Transportation grants totaling $1.7 million have been awarded to Gulf Coast projects that aim to reduce truck traffic by moving containers -- often filled with resin -- by barge through the ports of New Orleans and Houston.
02 Jan 2020
Volume growth at US Gulf Coast ports easily outpaced both the East and West Coasts in 2019, albeit from a smaller base, and port officials expect another strong year in 2020.
19 Nov 2019
The acquisition of Emergent Cold gives US-based Lineage Logistics greater access to Asian markets and facilities at three US ports.
US steel imports increasing despite tariffs, quotas
28 Oct 2019
With imports on the rise, domestic US steel prices are rolling downhill in 2019 and analysts expect that trend to continue well into next year.
25 Sep 2019
The Port of Houston is looking for industry and public support as it tries to accelerate the pace of a project to widen the Houston Ship Channel amid growing cargo volumes.
07 Aug 2019
The latest upgrade work at the port of Houston’s Barbours Cut Terminal that will enable the facility to handle rapidly growing cargo volumes received the backing of Port of Houston Authority, which agreed to spend $39.7 million on the project.
CBP inspections have uncovered a rash of properly treated and stamped shipments of inbound wood packaging materials (WPM) cargo that nonetheless harbored dangerous wood-boring beetles.
25 Jul 2019
Violations of ISPM 15, which maintains strict guidelines for treatment of all wood packaging materials (WPM) to prevent the accidental introduction of invasive pests, can result in the re-exportation of entire shipments of goods and large fines, even if importers and carriers have followed the regulations to the best of their abilities.