The Port of Houston Authority posted record operating revenues in 2001, driven by the highest-ever volumes of containerized cargo, a surge in intermodal rail
activity, strong auto imports and growth among key customers. Operating revenues increased to a record $107.2 million from $106.6 million in 2000. Operating income for the year was $18.6 million compared to $23.0 million in 2000. "Business trends for the Port continue to be strong, despite a weak economy, which is a testament to the important economic role the
Port serves in the Houston region," said Port Authority Chairman James T. Edmonds. "Our operations are efficient, our facilities are in excellent shape and our people are committed to our customers."
Operating income dipped below the previous year primarily because of a decline in steel imports as a result of heightened steel import restrictions. Steel imports have been impacted by new trade regulations and as a result, Port of Houston steel imports are down 29 percent.
The Port's total container volume reached a record 1,071,601 million TEUs (twenty-foot-equivalent units), marking the third consecutive year that more than a million containers have moved through the Port. In addition, TEU tonnage grew to a record 9.99 million tons, a 2.5 percent increase over 2000.
"Despite increased container volume, the rate of growth in the Port's container traffic is actually slowing because we are running out of space," Edmonds continued. "We simply do not have the capacity to serve everyone who wants to come to the Port of Houston. The need for the proposed Bayport Container and Cruise Terminal, which would triple the Port's container handling capacity and add more than 39,000 new jobs at full build out, is abundantly clear."
In 2001, bulk materials handling made
the strongest showing since 1979 with 2.979 million tons moving through the Port of Houston Authority's facilities, an increase of 31 percent over 2000. Auto imports totaled 76,496, a 40 percent increase over 2000.
During the year, the Port added eight new shipping services reaching 30 ports from Antwerp and Odessa, Russia to Buenos Aires and
Freeport in the Bahamas. No shipping line decreased service out of Houston in 2001. The Port also participated in five major projects
moving nearly 9,000 tons of fabricated machinery to locations in Yemen, the Ivory Coast, Kuwait, Nigeria and the Peoples Republic of
China. And the Port of Houston last year became the exclusive import point for all Rolls Royces and Bentleys shipped into the U.S.
To help counter ongoing economic effects from the events of September 11, the Port of Houston Authority imposed a freeze in 2001 on the tariffs charged for shipments in and out of the Port of
Houston, marking the first time in more than 20 years that fees charged Port of Houston shippers will not increase in 2002.