Port Houston's Roger Guenther to Retire August 30

Member Updates,

Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther will retire on August 30; Charlie Jenkins, Chief Channel Infrastructure Officer, has been named the incoming chief executive officer.

Chairman Ric Campo, Roger Guenther, and Charlie Jenkins. Photo courtesy of Port Houston.

The Houston Ship Channel continues to hold the "top spot" among the nation's waterways was the news Chairman Ric Campo opened with at the monthly port commission of the Port of Houston Authority meeting on April 23. That rating was confirmed last week when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the U.S. Coastal and Inland Navigation System 2022 Transportation Facts & Information Report, incorporating the latest data on tonnage and waterway rankings.

The Houston Ship Channel remains the nation's No. 1 waterway in waterborne tonnage. In 2022, 293.8 million tons moved along the Houston Ship Channel, a 10% increase over 2021 and a record for the port. There is a gap of 67 million tons in annual tonnage between the Houston channel and the country's No. 2 port. The 67-million-ton difference is larger than 94% of all U.S. ports.

"This report confirms that the Houston Ship Channel is the vital economic engine to the nation and helps serve as the basis for expediting Project 11, providing for growth, a safer channel, and improved efficiency and emissions for the benefit of our region," Chairman Campo said. "And it underscores the importance of continued federal funding to maintain the nation's busiest waterway, so it can meet the daily needs of the region it serves."

While touting the waterway's top ranking, Chairman Campo highlighted the importance and steady progress of Project 11 as “a testament to all those involved.” He emphasized that the No. 1 position means "jobs for our region.”

“When you think about being number one, it means we’re also number one in jobs,” Chairman Campo said. “The more jobs created; the more value created for the region.”

In other Port Commission business, long-time Executive Director Roger Guenther's contract was amended to reflect his retirement date of August 30, and Chief Channel Infrastructure Officer Charlie Jenkins, another 30+ year employee and well-respected industry leader, was named incoming chief executive officer.

Chairman Campo thanked Guenther for his many years of service, saying he had done "amazing work" as executive director. He added that changes like this did not happen very often, so continuity was important, and "it would be a seamless transition."

"On behalf of the port commission, I want to thank Roger for his service and exceptional leadership at Port Houston. He has led an impressive 30-plus-year career, and in this last decade as executive director, we have been grateful for his vision and passion for the organization," said Chairman Campo.” We will work to ensure a seamless transition following Roger's retirement, and we are excited about the future of Port Houston."

Upon the news, the port staff gave a robust round of applause as a show of support and appreciation to both executives.

“I'd like to thank the port commission for its support and continuity. In my 10 years, I've had seamless support and certainty, and look forward to its support of Charlie and his leadership," said Guenther. "I'm grateful to the port commission and the entire team at Port Houston for their unwavering support during my career."

In other news, Chairman Campo told attendees that the Houston Pilots had approved safety guidelines to continue easing their daylight restriction reference point to move up the channel, as more Project 11 dredging is completed. This now means an additional one-and one-half hours transit time in each direction has been gained since Project 11 began, further underscoring the importance for the channel expansion and widening program.

Approximately 15 miles out of the 26 miles of Galveston Bay reach of the Houston Ship Channel been widened since the start of Project 11, and Chairman Campo expressed appreciation to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, Houston Pilots and other partners, and Port Houston staff for their diligence and collaboration in getting the work done.