updated 1/27/2011 10:47:54 AM ET 2011-01-27T15:47:54

HOUSTON, Jan. 27, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A $1.2 million construction contract for the security system at Bayport's Marine Emergency buildings and a professional environmental and engineering services contract are among several matters approved during the regular January 25 meeting of the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority.

In his monthly report, Chief Executive Officer Alec G. Dreyer said December was a good month for the Port Authority in steel and containers, with improvements in other cargo categories as well.

The Port Authority handled 249,000 tons of steel in December 2010 – more than twice the year-ago levels, an increase of 174 percent.

"For the year, steel finished 2 percent above the 2009 level based upon strong growth in the last nine months of 2010," Dreyer said. "At present, we expect a 13-to-14 percent increase in steel volumes in 2011 over 2010, with the annual level approaching 3.1 million tons."

He also noted that container revenue was up a robust 12 percent in December, reflecting the strong growth in loaded units for the month. For 2010, container revenue was up 11 percent compared to 2009, with container tonnage up 10 percent for that period. Turning Basin revenue was up 25 percent for December, in line with the incremental amount of steel handled this year over last. For 2010, Turning Basin revenue was up 8 percent over last year, reflecting the strong finish to the year for steel volumes.

Ship arrivals at Port Authority facilities are up over 5.6 percent for 2010 versus 2009, Dreyer said. He also noted barge traffic has shown significant growth all year and is up 17 percent in December year-to-date.

Engineering and Real Estate

(Agenda I2) The Port Commission approved awarding a $1,186,339 construction contract to Texas Technical Services Inc. for the security system for the Phase 1 Stage 2 Container Yard and Administration, Maintenance and Repair, and Marine Emergency buildings at the Bayport Container Terminal. This project includes installation of access control card readers and security cameras to work with existing Port Authority equipment and connect to the Port Coordination Center, the Port Authority's security command center. These security improvements will help maintain controlled access and surveillance for the three newly-constructed buildings and container yard at the Bayport terminal.  

Strategic Planning

(Agenda Q1) Port Commissioners awarded a $310,000, five-year contract to Gahagan & Bryant Associates, Inc. for professional environmental and engineering services for oversight of the Greens Bayou remediation project.

In December 2003, defendants in a lawsuit brought by the Port Authority agreed to remediate past pollution in and along portions of Greens Bayou. A portion of the funds paid by the defendants is used by the Port Authority to support its oversight of these activities, including sediment sampling and analysis, groundwater sampling and monitoring, reviewing analytical reports, and continuing general monitoring activities.

Since 2004, Gahagan & Bryant Associates Inc. (GBA), in partnership with Shaw Environmental Inc., has assisted the Port Authority with this oversight work. GBA and its subcontractors will now perform the work.

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

CONTACT: Lisa Ashley, Director, Corporate Communications
         Office: (713) 670-2644
         Cell:  (832) 247-8179
         Email: lashley@poha.com

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