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Charlotte O'rourke

The embarkations cruise numbers are very good news.

Ports are extremely competitive. Currently New Orleans is our biggest competitor in the Gulf.

New Orleans has a longer transit time and more difficult waterway to navigate, but don’t seem to have the fog issue delays that plague Galveston in recent years.

When the Pilot Commissioners indicate they “weren’t sure what positive effects a meeting would have” with the port.

I would suggest starting the meeting with fog delays and determine what the commissioners, pilots, and Port can do to safely minimize these delays.

Proceed to other issues as decisions made by the Pilot Commissioners impact ALL level of of PORT business.

Excellent editorial.

Bill Broussard

You are right when it comes to the improved operating efficiencies of the portfolio, C.O.

I think its important to note that in most of America's and foreign ports, cruise ships are considered low margin, high labor but secondary markets. As was the case with the ill thought through Terminal with the Port of Houston, the cruise business came much after the core business of the port was well established. In Galveston, we've done well thus far taking a second tier product and making it our core but there is a huge risk involved as Michael points out.

Currently, one only needs to watch the line-up of ships waiting to get into the Houston Ship Channel and watch the 100's of millions the City of Corpus has put into dredging to take the Houston energy transport business away to understand the competition in every shipping business is as hot as it ever was. If you can unload and load a tanker in two days less than getting into Houston to do the same thing, as long as we remain net exporters of oil and gas, no one really needs a refinery. They just ship as quick as they can to Liberian or Chinese refineries.

Our dock line ups are evolutionary and not necessarily planned. So we have some sorts of business on Pelican and a real mixed bag or tourist and light industrial on the Galveston side. I was greatly relieved when the Board said they were planning a strategy cause if they even initiate 60% of it, they might be able to put order into an evolutionary system and balance the portfolio.

One irritant is the planned lack of rail transportation with the new bridge and the other is the P of H paying no taxes on its usable land on Pelican.

Though Michael didn't say it this way, we keep making expensive loans to invest capital into products that have a high risk and low margin. I think that might bite us someday unless we want to take the bold step of having all of the Galveston dock side look as though its is a pure cruise business and salt and pepper it with condo's and expansion hotels all the way to the yacht basin.

Charlotte O'rourke

Bill, I agree. Both you and Michael gave strong arguments for diversification.

I’m optimistic that the new port director along with the development of the strategic\master plan will address diversification as well as the need for rail to Pelican Island.

Since starting to follow the port and Pilot Commission in 1995, this is the first time that I can remember a refusal for any type of discussion - either through the chairmen or through a joint meeting.

That refusal does not not bode well for resolving important issues and future business satisfaction and growth.

Hopefully, the Pilot Commission will re-evaluate and call a joint meeting soon as the port has repeatedly requested a meeting since July of last year.

In the meantime, Ms Beeton is leading a port executive committee to help build accurate profit and loss reporting. Rodger Rees should be invaluable in this area.


Charlotte O'rourke

Cruises have a huge economic benefit on Galveston and Texas but other cargo and maritime businesses need to be developed and supported.

Jarvis Buckley

Very good article, very informative comments. Thanks 👍

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