The Houston Ship Channel is experiencing tremendous growth. The Houston region, the country’s No. 1 region for exports, is home to the largest petrochemical manufacturing complex in the Americas. Energy production and the export of crude oil, along with the increasing global demand for chemicals produced in the region, are major drivers of this success.
Largely because of petrochemical activity along the 52-mile ship channel, the nearly 200 private companies that make up the Greater Port of Houston have helped make the port the No. 1 U.S. port in waterborne tonnage. Petroleum and petroleum products are leading import and export commodities.
More than 200 million short tons of international cargo were handled in 2018 alone. The economic impact of the greater port nationally includes 3.2 million jobs, $801.9 billion in economic value and more than $38.1 billion in tax revenue.
Navigating Towards a Wider and Deeper Houston Ship Channel
Since 2010, the Port of Houston Authority has been planning the next major channel improvements working with Congress and the Corps of Engineers. During that time, the growth in the size of vessels increasingly needing to transit the waterway along with the growth in the exports, imports, domestic manufacturing and energy products are creating significant demand and pressure on the Houston Ship Channel and regional infrastructure, and driving the need to make improvements to this nationally significant waterway.
The success of this waterway is the result of a legacy of leadership and commitment in supporting and funding channel improvements over time. Through a tradition of collaboration and investment, the Houston Ship Channel has become the nation’s most active waterway, with more vessel traffic than the next three largest U.S. ports combined – Los Angeles, Long Beach, and New York/New Jersey.