updated 11/18/2010 4:15:22 AM ET 2010-11-18T09:15:22

HOUSTON, Nov. 17, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The 2010 Journal of Commerce Breakbulk Americas Conference and Exhibition was a singular success and will return to Houston in 2012, announced Ricky W. Kunz, Vice President, Origination, during the November 16 regular public meeting of the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority. Chairman James T. Edmonds presided over the meeting with Commissioner Steve Phelps, Commissioner Jim Fonteno, Commissioner Jimmy Burke, Commissioner Janiece Longoria and Commissioner Elyse Lanier.

Kunz reported that Houston was the first-time host of this two-day conference that saw record attendance of nearly 4,000 shippers, supply chain providers and industry leaders from around the world. Attendance nearly doubled the highest turnout in the event's previous 21-year history.

Breakbulk Americas 2010 generated more than $4.9 million in direct economic impact on Houston, according to a report from the Port of Houston Authority's Economic Analysis Division. The analysis considered many factors, including hotel accommodations, transportation, food and beverage services and more during the two-day conference.

These benefits are in addition to the impact of contracts and shipping arrangements put in place as a result of the event, helping continue the leadership of the Port of Houston as the largest breakbulk port in the U.S. and a leader in steel and project cargo for more than 90 years.

Increasing container, steel tonnages

In his monthly report, Chief Executive Officer Alec G. Dreyer highlighted increases in the Port Authority's container tonnages, steel tonnages and ship arrivals.

While the 2010 container TEU level is relatively flat (up 1 percent through October), Dreyer noted that the Port Authority is handling more loaded containers, and more 20-ft. containers than 40-ft. boxes. "This means more revenue based on the number of lifts," he said, adding that year-to-date container revenue is up 11 percent compared to the same 10-month period in 2009. More significantly for our local economy, container tonnage is up a robust 7% for the ten-month year to date period.

October was a strong month for steel as the Port Authority handled 312,000 tons – nearly twice the level of October 2009. Export steel shipments totaled 89,000 tons, the highest level since 1981. Dreyer predicted, "if November and December are good, the Port Authority will achieve parity with its 2009 steel level."

Ship arrivals at Port Authority facilities this year through October are 4 percent higher than the same 10-month period in 2009, Dreyer said. He also noted barge traffic has been strong all year – up 13 percent in October and 18 percent overall for 2010 compared to 2009.

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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