Monday AM September 22nd, 2008

Port of Galveston Chairman Gerald Sullivan says the port plans to unload its first ship on Wednesday. Sullivan says the port, which city officials say ranks seventh nationally in cruise liner business, will be able to accept cruise ships again by October 1st. The Port of Houston Authority says normal operations have resumed at its terminals. Port of Houston executive director Tom Kornegay praised the efforts of port employees and the port coordination team.

"Well, actually the Coast Guard has a port coordination team of all four ports, all the private terminals, the tanker fleets and then also the other fleets as well, the general cargo guys, and then also the oil terminals and the private terminals. But everybody has been cooperating, but everybody has been working together, and it's been a real team effort. And the Coast Guard has done a fantastic job, in my opinion, of coordinating and getting this thing started back up again."

PHA was granted U.S. Coast Guard clearance for all Houston port facilities last Wednesday and employees returned to work Thursday. The Barbours Cut, Bayport and Turning Basin terminals opened Saturday. Kornegay says there was a log-jam of container ships waiting for the Houston port to reopen.

"Yes, sir. As a matter of fact, well, we had a, we had a huge long-jam of ships. You know, we've got Freeport, Texas city, Galveston and Houston all right here together. And so we had a big log-jam of ships, you know, coming for all four ports." Ed: "It may be too early to assess right now, but can you us an idea of the economic hit the region might have taken from the port being down for a couple of days?" "Yeah, I know you guys want to know that number, and I do, too, but I just don't have a number right today. We, and we actually were down almost a week."

Cruise ships operating out of Galveston are being handled by the Houston port. Carnival's Conquest arrived at the new Bayport Cruise Terminal last Thursday, and Ecstasy disembarked passengers Friday. Both ships had docked in New Orleans following the closure of the Port of Galveston during the hurricane.

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.


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