The Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority met at a special session to speed up the widening and deepening of the Houston Ship Channel, which is one of the busiest waterways in the US.
To obtain permission, funding and ensure timely completion for the project, the Port Authority is collaborating with the US Army Corps of Engineers and other representatives of the federal government, along with Port of Houston and Houston Ship Channel stakeholders.
This project will represent the eleventh widening and deepening of the channel since its formation.
At the special session, measures were discussed to ensure widening of the entire Galveston Bay reach of the ship channel as part of the next Houston Ship Channel dredging project.
To support the accelerated effort, the commission ordered staff to bring proposals for Port Authority and industry funding.
A resolution was adopted by the commission to maximise current two-way traffic transiting the Houston Ship Channel.
To ensure continued safe, uninterrupted traffic of neo-panamax container vessels and other ships, the Port of Authority capped the number of vessels measuring 1,100ft or longer that can enter the Houston Ship Channel.
The new rule will allow only one of these ships each week. Such ships will be restricted to one movement each day.
During the meeting, the commission also approved a budget of $500,000 to support a traffic efficiency group for the channel.
This newly formed advisory committee will meet regularly and work in collaboration with the US Coast Guard Houston Area Vessel Traffic Service, the Lone Star Harbor Safety Committee, the Houston Pilots, and others.
The group will share data and insights and help optimise traffic flow on the channel.