In the seven months since I was welcomed to the Port of Galveston, the focus has been on steering in a new direction.

This new course has brought together a new team, a new vision and a new operating model. A top priority of this model is to operate the port as a business and to increase the transparency of information.

The port’s operating results are on an upward trend. Cargo and cruise revenues are up 47 percent and 10 percent, respectively, compared to last year. Net income year-to-date exceeds $4.5 million and is up more than 600 percent over last year. If our revenues continue on this pace, the port could be on its way to a banner year.

A masterplan is underway, beginning with an infrastructure assessment and cruise plan. This nine-month process will utilize five different firms, each with a unique set of qualifications to create a sustainable business model for the port. Throughout this process, the port will seek input from residents, customers, users, stakeholders, elected and appointed leaders.

The process will continue as we analyze cargo and industrial operations to determine the best strategies to identify and attract robust tenants to optimize the port’s assets. These separate phases will culminate into a single cohesive masterplan with financial models to provide a road map for growth.

The port is ready to welcome its newest addition, the cruise ship Carnival Vista. In anticipation of her arrival later this month, the port invested about $3.5 million in upgrades and additions to both the cruise terminal and dock to accommodate the larger vessel. The project includes an additional gangway entrance on the second floor of the cruise terminal, extensions to the berth with the installation of new bollards and pier extensions and mooring dolphin equipped with an access bridge and safety ladder.

The port’s staff, led by Humberto Leal and Oscar Rodriguez, has completed the project under budget. This has allowed the port to do additional upgrades such as new LED lighting and a fresh coat of paint for the cruise terminal.

The port is appreciative to the city’s Industrial Development Corp. for its $1.1 million contribution to both our Carnival Vista and masterplan/infrastructure assessment projects.

You may notice on the water that we have begun to dredge selected areas of the Galveston Ship Channel. This dredging, costing about $1.5 million, will provide a wider turning radius in our turning basin allowing for both cruise and cargo ships to spin around to prepare for their voyage into the Gulf. We are also dredging select areas to provide deeper berths for our tenants.

You will also soon see construction on the west end of the port along Old Port Industrial Boulevard between 33rd and 29th Streets. We will be replacing old railroad crossings while widening and repairing the road surfaces. A new traffic signal will be installed on 33rd Street.

To hear firsthand the exciting developments at the port, we invite you to attend our regularly scheduled monthly trustee meetings held on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Please check our website at www.portofgalveston.com for information. Please remember this is your port and we welcome your input.

Rodger Rees is director and CEO of the Port of Galveston.

(5) comments

Ray Taft

“The Port of Galveston is on a promising new course.” Really? Streets flooded in a rain storm making them impassable. Shops flooded on the Strand. And passengers had to wade through water to get to their cruise ships.

It looks like the port has a drainage problem that will keep many people away when there is even a chance of rain. Find someone to fix the problem Mr. Rees, then get back to us.

Jarvis Buckley

I believe Roger & his administration are doing a great job & should be commended, but remember our all star wharves board members are the reason they are there. Ted O'Rourke
& the board are making much progress. Much of the credit should go to Teds leadership. In my opinion.

Bill Cochrane

Oh, Come on Roger. Ray is right. Even though I think it's a little over your pay grade, all you have to do is raise the strand and Harborside about 8 feet and all will be fine for the port. And then check with Mother Nature and tell her to cut it out with all the rain. And next have a stern talk with the Man in the Moon about high tides. While you are at it, why not have a very large air conditioning unit installed off the coast of Africa to cool those hot winds that cause hurricanes. Oh, and don’t quit your day job of running the Port of Galveston. I’ve always said the port should be run like a business. Good Job. Thanks for all you do at the Port.

Ray Taft

I am not a highly paid member of the Port of Galveston so I just Googled the problem. There are solutions if the port would just Google it!

According to the article ‘Heavy rains, high tide flood City Dock in Annapolis again,’ Capital Gazette, April 16, 2018, the City of Annapolis is working on a flood mitigation system that would prevent flooding at it’s city dock. The city has contracted engineering firm AECOM to plan and design a flood mitigation system. It’s expected to be in place in about two years.

Get to Googling Mr. Rodger Rees and you will find someone who can fix the problem.

Bill Cochrane

Ray. You missed my point. Rodger Rees is the Port Director. He is not a city official or the public works director. I read the article, and it never mentioned the port director of Annapolis. That's because it's not the port director's job to mitigate flooding. And it's not the Galveston Port Director's job to mitigate flooding in Galveston. If you have issues with Mr. Rees or the port why not stick to the issues.

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