Port Authority awarded Texas Comptroller Leadership Gold Circle Award for online financial transparency
HOUSTON – Financial performance was extremely strong for May, Executive Director Leonard Waterworth reported today. His report was among a series of staff reports from Finance, Trade Development and Port Security & Emergency Operations, at the Port Commission’s regular monthly meeting.
The Port Authority has received the Gold Circle Award – the highest level of the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle Award, as reported by Controller Maxine Buckles. The Comptroller of Public Accounts launched the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle program in December 2009 to recognize local governments across Texas that are striving to meet high standards for financial transparency online. “Gold” highlights those entities that are setting the bar with their transparency efforts. Buckles said attaining the annual award was a cooperative effort that involved Finance, Accounting, IT and Public Affairs.
Also at the meeting, Port Commissioner Kase Lawal and the Port Authority were presented with Texas Southern University’s Paul Cuffee Maritime Leadership award for promoting diversity in the Texas Gulf Coast region. The award, named for Paul Cuffee (1759-1817), an African-American ship captain, shipbuilder, philanthropist and abolitionist, was created by the TSU Maritime Industry Advisory Board.
Trade Development Vice President Ricky Kunz reported on the two new liner services to Houston, Cosco and Hanjin, announcing that Cosco’s management has honored Houston and the port by naming its sixth vessel Cosco Houston. A maiden voyage plaque presentation will take place on its expected arrival at the Port Authority next week. Kunz said that Linea Peninsular Inc., based in Panama City, Fla., has also dedicated a vessel to Houston service. The ship travels between Progreso, Mexico, and Houston to the Port Authority’s Barbours Cut terminal.
Marcus Woodring, Senior Managing Director, Port Security and Emergency Operations, gave an update on that department, as he completes his first year of service to the Port Authority. Colin Rizzo has joined as the new emergency manager. Woodring detailed hurricane season readiness efforts. He also noted that the Port Authority had received about $60 million in port security grants over the last 10 years, putting the funds to use to help provide securityenhancements such as a new visitor management system, the expansion of the Port Coordination Center and equipping all police vehicles with computers. Additionally, the first of three new fireboats is set for delivery in the fall. Security grants are also expected to help defray the cost of this upgraded equipment.
In Waterworth’s financial report, he noted that total tonnage at Port Authority facilities, excluding bulk cargo at leased locations, was up 144,000 tons or 6 percent for the month of May. Waterworth also reported that year-to-date tonnage continues to grow, up this year by 1.2 million tons or 11 percent.
“This growth is sustained by continued strength in steel tonnage,” Waterworth said.
Steel is up 178,000 tons or 48 percent for the month, and 1.2 million tons or 78 percent for 2012. General cargos at Port Authority facilities continue to show growth, up by 226,000 tons or 15 percent for the year. May container tonnage increased by 56,000 tons or 4 percent for the month, after declines in the previous two months. Year-to-date container tonnage is down by 173,000 tons or 2 percent due to decreases in cotton and resin exports.
May operating revenues were $19.3 million, up 10 percent over last year, with year-to-date revenues of $91.8 million – an 8 percent increase over 2011.
Net operating income through May of $11.9 million equals the reforecasted budget projection and is $6.7 million more than the original budget.
“Overall, financial performance remains strong,” Waterworth concluded.
He also gave a brief update on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit process. Opportunities for public comments continue through July 5 and preliminary staff recommendations are expected in mid-July, he said.
In addition, Pat Kiley of Kiley Advisors gave a summary of the firm’s contractor survey undertaken on behalf of the Port Authority. About 12 percent of the Port Authority’s Vendor Information System users responded to the survey. Kiley concluded that the Port Authority had strong support from small businesses and long-time business partners, but needed to have more structured outreach to larger contractors.
“We support any opportunity to make this a better institution,” said Port Chairman Jim Edmonds. “That’s what it’s all about.”
For nearly 100 years, the Port of Houston Authority has owned/operated the public cargo-handling facilities of the Port of Houston – the nation’s largest port in terms of foreign waterborne tonnage. The port has historically been an economic engine for the Houston region, the state of Texas and the nation. The port contributes to the creation of more than one million statewide and more than 2.1 million nationwide jobs and the generation of more than $178.5 billion of statewide and $499 billion of nationwide economic activity.
For more information, please visit www.portofhouston.com.
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