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.