The Port of Houston Authority is breaking records and isn't showing any signs of slowing down. Perhaps the progress is thanks, largely, to the first woman ever appointed to head the Port Commission.
Record breaking and history making? That description certainly sounds a lot like Port of Houston Authority Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria. She's the first woman to hold that title in the 100-year history of the port. “I enjoy this opportunity more than anything I've ever done in my career,” smiles Chairman Longoria who is in her second term. Port personnel are celebrating much more than Longoria's re-appointment.
”We had record results in 2013. We set records again in 2014 and we're on track in 2015 to continue that performance. Currently we have the best working relationship between the commission and the staff and the greatest amount of teamwork that we've had in the time I've served on the commission”.
The world and all the exports it has to offer becomes just a ship ride away thanks to the Port of Houston. “We're strategically located on the Gulf Coast and we can reach 144 million consumers within 1,000 miles of our port. So we thought it was particularly important to develop refrigerated cargo opportunities at the Port Of Houston Authority. We can attract refrigerated cargo from South America. You know in the winter months when we like to enjoy our produce, it would be nice if that produce came directly to our consumer base for distribution” explains Longoria.
Also in the works, upgrades to accommodate larger and more vessels as a result of the Panama Canal expansion which is expected to be complete in June 2016.
”We are dredging our terminal facilities an additional five feet, from forty feet to forty-five feet at both Barber's Cut and Bayport,” adds the chairman.
Container traffic at the Houston Port has already increased 20% this year. So which accomplishment is Chairman Longoria most proud?
”Creating jobs and economic prosperity for the region. That gives me great satisfaction,” she smiles.
Longoria may be the first woman in the position but she'll be remembered for far more than her gender.
”Don't we all want to give back and leave things better than we found them, so that we feel good about our place in the world and what we contributed while we were here? The only limitations there are, are what we have in our own minds”.