Improving and enhancing cruise parking and mobility in and around the Galveston Wharves are top priorities. That importance is reflected in our Strategic Master Plan and in the creation of a new staff position.

This month we welcome Julio De Leon as the port’s first-ever Mobility director. Julio will oversee transportation planning, business development, operations and strategic marketing for parking and ground transportation.

As the nation’s fourth busiest cruise port, we operate seven parking lots with a total of 3,610 spaces. One of our main business lines, the parking operation generated $7.6 million in gross revenues in 2018 and is projected to gross $8.6 million this year. Parking accounts for almost 20 percent of the port’s annual revenue.

Julio will help us improve that business as well as plan for the future. He is responsible for implementing new revenue and access control technologies, as well as industry best practices to make our parking operation more effective. This year Julio will complete the installation of an automated payment system and begin reviewing our parking services contractor.

We’ve also tasked Julio with enhancing the customer experience and implementing an effective marketing campaign to capture a greater share of cruise parking business. We want the Port of Galveston to be the preferred parking choice for the thousands of people who park and cruise from Galveston each week.

Planning for the Future

The majority of the almost 1 million cruise passengers who sailed from Galveston last year drove to and parked on the island. That number is projected to increase as our cruise business grows in the coming years.

We’re planning for that growth through our Strategic Master Plan, which will be completed soon. Based on extensive research by an international consulting firm as well as public input, this plan will chart the port’s future for the next 20 years.

The plan includes opportunities to expand port cruise parking with surface parking lots and parking garages. It also looks at ways to improve cruise passenger mobility in and around the waterfront with an interior roadway. Julio will play an important role as we conduct a traffic study that looks at relieving cargo and cruise passenger traffic on Harborside Drive.

We’re fortunate to have someone with Julio’s industry experience and knowledge on our team of professionals.

Julio joins us from PSX Inc., a national parking and security systems company, where he was a Parking Division manager. Julio has more than 16 years of experience in operations and sales management, facility management, project management and business development. He has served as operations manager for Associated Time and Parking, as well as ABM Parking Management.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of the Incarnate World, San Antonio. He earned a parking professional certification from the National Parking Association. Additionally, he is an active member of the Texas Parking and Transportation Association.

Rodger Rees is Port of Galveston port director and chief executive officer.

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