Houston's Major Port Expansion Moves Ahead

Certainly, the dismissal earlier this year of the major legal objections to the mammoth port expansion project

Container volumes continue to surge through Houston, which serves a population of 30m within 500 miles of the city and a rich industrial market to boot.

For the year through July, Houston handled 764,736 teu, 12% up on the 684,455 teu handled in the first seven months of 2003, according to PHA figures.

As with so many US ports, the relentless rise of Asia is one reason for the surge in traffic.

Asia accounted for 46,330 teu or 5.17% of the 896,267 teu that moved through the port in 2002, according to PIERS. Last year, Asia's contribution rose to 81,370 teu or 8.97% of the Houston's total haul of 907.342 teu.

As Mr Edmonds says, strong growth looks assured for some time to come.

It is one of the factors that, he says, makes him relatively relaxed about the prospect of a new port coming on stream at Texas City on the Gulf Coast; he believes there will be business enough for everyone.

And it is one reason that, as the Bayport project finally gets under way, the PHA is already looking at the possibility of developing Pelican Island in the south of Galveston Bay as its next container facility.