updated 9/29/2010 4:17:14 PM ET 2010-09-29T20:17:14

HOUSTON, Sept. 29, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority approved at its September 28 meeting a two-year professional services contract in the amount of $340,000 with Ben Line Agencies Limited Singapore to promote Asian trade. More trade currently flows across the Pacific than any other trade lane, and Asia has been the port authority's fastest-growing segment for the last 10 years.

In his monthly financial report, CEO Alec G. Dreyer said the trend of "good month, bad month" at PHA had continued, reflecting the overall economy.

Dreyer noted that the month of August was good. Container TEUs totaled 152,077, with year-to-date at nearly 1.2 million, a 2 percent increase over August 2009 year-to-date.

Steel throughput was at 285,000 tons, four times what it was in August 2009. Dreyer noted the amount of export steel – 60,467 tons – was the highest since March 2008, and he said that September is looking even stronger with overall steel tonnage for the month projected to range between 320,000 and 325,000 tons.

ENGINEERING & REAL ESTATE MATTERS

(Agenda I2) Commissioners approved a $2.9 million construction contract to US Builders, LP for construction of two stevedore support buildings at the Bayport Container Terminal. The project involves construction of two identical stevedore support buildings located at wharves 2 and 3 at Bayport. Each two-story, 5,576-square-foot building will include office space for stevedore companies and break rooms for the longshore workers. Intermodal steel building units (ISBUs), which are recycled shipping containers, modified and engineered to be the primary structural system above the foundation, are expected to be used in the construction.

(Agenda I3) Commissioners approved awarding a $266,420 construction contract to LandPRO, Inc., for Barbours Cut Boulevard streetscape. In a project to benefit the cities of Morgan's Point and La Porte, the port authority will plant palm trees and crape myrtles and construct a sidewalk along the boulevard from East Main Street to Vinsonia Street.

(Agenda I6) Commissioners approved a $2.2 million amendment to the professional services contract with Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. for Phase 2 program management of the Bayport Container Terminal. Services under this amendment will include general program management tasks for Phase 2 of the Bayport terminal development and continued management of design contracts for wharves 2 and 6 and container yard 6. The services will also include continued design management and limited construction management support for stevedore support buildings 2 and 3 and any additional support services for the terminal and other facilities.

(Agenda N1) Commissioners approved a two-year professional services contract in the amount of $340,000 for Ben Line Agencies Limited Singapore for promotion of Asian trade. The region currently accounts for 16 percent of PHA's overall trade and 32 percent of its import container trade. With the Panama Canal expanding to accommodate 12,000-TEU vessels by 2014, U.S. ports are competing intensely to increase their shares of the Asian market.

The Port of Houston Authority owns and operates the public facilities located along the Port of Houston, the 25-mile-long complex of diversified public and private facilities designed for handling general cargo, containers, grain and other dry bulk materials, project and heavy lift cargo, and other types of cargo. Each year, there are more than 7,700 vessel calls at the port, which ranks first in the U.S. in foreign waterborne tonnage and second in overall total tonnage. The port authority plays a vital role in ensuring navigational safety along the Houston Ship Channel, which has been instrumental in Houston's development as a center of international trade. The Barbours Cut Container Terminal and Central Maintenance Facility are the first of any U.S. port facilities to develop and implement an innovative Environmental Management System that meets the rigorous standards of ISO 14001. The second recertification of those facilities in 2009 included an extension for the state-of-the-art Bayport Container Terminal. The port authority is the first port authority in the world to receive ISO 28000:2007 certification for its port police and the perimeter security operations at both the Barbours Cut and Bayport Terminals. Additionally, the port is an approved delivery point for Coffee "C" futures contracts traded on the New York Board of Trade's Coffee, Sugar & Cocoa Exchange. For more information, please visit www.portofhouston.com

To access the port's Web site photo gallery, please visit http://www.portofhouston.com/publicrelations/publicrelations.html and click the link for Port Authority Photo Gallery.

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