The 53rd U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, visited the Port of Houston Authority last week and was given an aerial tour of the Houston Ship Channel as part of a briefing that highlighted economic growth along the federal waterway. He and Corps staff from the Galveston District met with Port Authority officials to review and discuss federal projects currently under way and planned for the Houston area. Port Commissioners Theldon Branch III, Stephen H. DonCarlos and Roy D. Mease were on hand to welcome Lt. Gen. Bostick to the nation's busiest port.
The tour focused on industry along the upper and mid reaches of the channel to give Lt. Gen. Bostick, District Commander Col. Richard P. Pannell, as well as Col. Richard J. Muraski and Col. David C. Hill of the Southwestern Division, a better understanding of the port, which is home to the largest petrochemical complex in the nation and is a significant economic driver in the region. One million Texas workers and more than two million in the nation's workforce benefit annually from activity at the Port of Houston, which also generates more than $178.5 billion in economic impact to the state of Texas and nearly $500 billion nationwide.
PHA's Phyllis Saathoff, Deputy Executive Director, Corporate Affairs; Charlie Jenkins, Managing Director of Channel Development and Environmental Affairs; and Mark Vincent, Director of Channel Development, led the tour.
As the local sponsor of the 52-mile-long Houston Ship Channel, the Port Authority works with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to maintain the channel at its authorized 45-foot depth and 530-foot width. PHA officials highlighted their ongoing efforts in Washington through Congress and the administration and other industry stakeholders to secure the necessary resources for the USACE to fulfill their navigation mission.
The Port Authority's Marine Fire Department also provided Corps leaders with a demonstration of one of PHA's three, new high-performance emergency response vessels, which are used to help protect facilities along the Houston Ship Channel.