Happy New Year, I hope 2018 brings you and your family joy, health and prosperity.

Reflecting back on 2017, the Port of Galveston has made steady progress on its goals and objectives. The port has hired a new port director, Rodger Rees, from the second largest cruise port in the world to lead port operations and help guide our strategic planning in conjunction with the board, city, and John Manlove Marketing & Communications.

Rees is expected to start work on Jan. 16, and everyone looks forward to working with him and helping his family settle in our community.

The port’s cruise customers — Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Disney — have helped our port gain national prominence, and Galveston currently ranks fourth in the United States in number of cruise passengers. This year Galveston announced that Carnival’s largest ship, the Vista would be sailing from our home port.

An executive committee was created to: 1. Improve port metrics and develop sound Profit and Loss reporting to improve fiduciary accountability. 2. To help facilitate the ongoing city review of port assets and a parking audit.

A cruise committee has been created to help facilitate obtaining a port of call. The port has been working closely with the community and the Park Board of Trustees to obtain this line of business. The responses have been encouraging, and our collaborative efforts should be continued. My personal thanks to the community and park board members for their willingness to serve on an unpaid but important committee.

The port will conduct a trial run of meetings at city hall to try and engage the public’s interest in one of its most important city owned assets.

Looking forward in 2018, I foresee tremendous strides in improving port operations, obtaining new cargo customers, helping our current customers expand, improving transparency and public communications, restructuring debt and improving bond ratings, finding creative ways to fund and build a new cruise terminal and capital improvements in alignment with our strategic plan.

The overall goal being to run the port like a business so that it can be the job creator and economic engine that all ports and maritime industry are meant to be.

I want to thank the port board for the opportunity of serving as chair, and will always put the best interest of the port and community first. Staff has worked very hard this year, and taken on tasks that are not normally part of their duties as well as worked without full staffing. My personal thanks.

Ted O’Rourke is chair of the Wharves Board, but the opinions reflected in this column are his own.


(2) comments

Michelle Aycoth

Lease port of Galveston to Houston for 50 years and you would see several good years.

Jarvis Buckley

I think with Ted at the Helm the port will do very well.

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