On Bauer Business Focus – a conversation on the recent expansion of the Panama Canal.
Port of Houston’s Authority Chief Commercial Officer Ricky Kunz stopped by Bauer Business Focus to discuss the impact the Panama Canal expansion will have on the Port of Houston.
“That is going to triple the size of the vessels that can come through the canal,” Kunz said. “It’s an engineering feat, what they have done. It’s going to provide a lot more cargo for us. It already has. And we will continue to grow because of it.”
The expansion will also provide an economically viable alternative for many of Houston’s trading partners.
“We had a study done. Shanghai, LA long beach, get on the rail, move to Houston. Versus, Shanghai, get on the ship, go through the canal, come to Houston. When you get off the ship in Houston, you’re in Houston. When you get off the ship in LA, you still have to get on a rail and come all the way across the United States. I’ll give you this, the transit time is a little bit less. But the cost to come to Houston by all water is cheaper.”
According to Kunz, the expansion only adds to the appeal of the Port of Houston, which boasts a higher import-export ratio than many other U.S. ports.
“We are basically one-for-one. For every import container that comes in, there’s one export container that goes out. If you look at other ports, let’s just talk about the West Coast, it’s primarily an import trade there. Probably 70 percent of their boxes are going back to Asia are empty,” he added. “As opposed to in the Gulf, it’s full in, full out. And ocean carriers obviously like that because if you’re carrying an empty box, you’re not making any money.”
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