Letter From GHPB Outgoing Chairman
Serving as the Port Bureau’s chairman over the last three years has been a privilege filled with many satisfying moments. It’s given me many opportunities to be a part of conversations with colleagues, particularly with my fellow Port Bureau board members. We champion the port region through the Port Bureau’s mission to bring companies together for cooperation and efficiency within our maritime community.
We have kept this mission our top priority as the Port Bureau broadened interactions in the Houston Ship Channel industry. Several of our projects stand out in my thoughts. During my first year as chairman, we implemented a 3-tier membership level structure to offer members more involvement opportunities in the port region. This expansion has been productive to the work of the Port Bureau as membership participation has diversified and evolved with local industry.
In 2018, the Port Bureau moved to new offices in Deer Park, which offered a more centralized location for quicker, easier access to members and community partners. We built out a new training room to offer community meeting space and port information classes, such Port 101, to members and industry constituents.
The growth of the Port Bureau committees is another area that has been important to me. The work Advocacy Committee has allowed us to help promote the value of the port – sharing its unmatched capacity, flexibility, and reliability more widely and keeping its significance front and center with public officials.
The Efficiency Committee has worked steadily the last two years to bring about the current PortXchange trial to optimize scheduling for vessels transiting our waterway. Working through all the facets of improving efficiencies is not easy, but the benefits ahead for everyone make the efforts so worthwhile.
Our newest committee, the Membership Committee, was launched at the end of 2018. This committee ensures our members receive valuable services and networking opportunities.
Working with port region leaders on challenges that can’t be resolved alone is a rewarding process, but it is also an essential one. This was brought solidly home to me when 2020 hit us with COVID-19. The productive efforts of the Port Bureau to coordinate with companies, agencies, and officials helped to set early standards in safely and effectively conducting business on the Houston Ship Channel. Staying closely involved was never more vital to us all. Soon, the Port Bureau was pivoting to webinars and Virtual Commerce Club events to keep information and connectivity flowing.
These are just a few examples of our accomplishments over the past three years, and I would like to thank my fellow board members and the Port Bureau’s staff for their support and tireless commitment to the port region. As Bernt Netland takes on the role of chairman, I know we’ll reach new milestones in fulfilling the Port Bureau’s mission in our maritime community.
I look forward to continuing to work with everyone in my role of immediate past chairman on the board of directors and as a fellow member of the Greater Houston Port Bureau.