updated 10/1/2010 7:45:19 AM ET 2010-10-01T11:45:19

HOUSTON, Sept. 30, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Port of Houston Authority has been selected to host the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) annual convention in 2014, coinciding with the 100th anniversary celebration of the official opening of the Houston Ship Channel.

"This is an exciting global spotlight opportunity," stated Port Commission Chairman James T. Edmonds. "The timing is perfect. We're looking forward to celebrating the Port of Houston's first century as a maritime industry leader and preparing to handle more cargo as the Panama Canal expansion is completed. Welcoming our colleagues from ports throughout the western hemisphere to Houston for the 2014 convention will make a great year even greater."

The Port Authority also hosted the 1998 AAPA annual meeting.

"AAPA and our member ports are looking forward to returning to Houston in 2014 to share in its 100th anniversary celebration," said AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle. He added, "Houston is a great port city, and the Port Authority is recognized as an industry leader. Houston will be an excellent venue for ports of the Americas to come together to share best practices and strengthen trade relationships."

The four-day-long annual convention is AAPA's largest membership meeting. It includes technical and policy committee meetings, business sessions, and social networking opportunities for port professionals and others in the marine transportation industry. 

AAPA represents more than 160 public port authorities throughout the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. Association membership also includes more than 335 sustaining and associate members, including firms and individuals with an interest in the seaports of the western hemisphere.

Economic Impact

As part of its mandate to generate economic development, the Port of Houston Authority makes a concerted effort to draw and attract maritime-related conferences to the Houston area. The AAPA's 2014 convention is expected to attract between 600 and 800 delegates, guests, and exhibitors. Preliminary estimates by the Port Authority's Economic Analysis Department indicate that the convention could contribute between $1.3 million and $1.8 million to Houston's economy.

This October 12-14, an estimated 4,000 delegates, guests and exhibitors are expected to attend the Journal of Commerce's annual Breakbulk Americas Conference & Exhibition, when it comes to Houston for the first time in the event's 21-year history. Under the theme "The Path Forward," the conference will focus on various global issues and trends in the movement of heavy equipment used for projects in such fields as engineering, construction, and oil and gas exploration and production.

About the Port of Houston Authority

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.

The Port of Houston Authority logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=720

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