Port of Houston open on limited basis in IkeÆs aftermath
The Port of Houston said it is now open on a limited basis.
“The Port of Houston Authority Turning Basin and all its other terminals with the exception of Barbours Cut and Bayport Container Terminals will resume normal business operations Thursday,” the port said.
It added that Barbours Cut and Bayport Terminals continue to work with CenterPoint Energy to establish power to its terminals.
“Overall, the port authority facilities and property have had limited negative impact due to the storm,” the port said.
The U.S. Coast Guard Wednesday said 118 ships are backed up awaiting entry to Gulf Coast ports affected by Hurricane Ike.
While counts for individual ports were not available, Coast Guard Petty Officer Annie Berlin said ships are anchored awaiting entry into the Texas ports of Houston, Galveston, Freeport and Texas City as well Lake Charles, La.
Michael Hackmeyer, manager U.S. Gulf for the shipping agency Norton Lilly, said that while the situation is changing minute-to-minute, “some of the terminals just are not yet ready” for ships to call.
Hackmeyer said several liner companies have diverted vessels to discharge and load cargo in New Orleans this weekend instead of Houston.
While diverting containerized cargo to other ports can boost inland drayage costs, Hackmeyer said container companies are keen to avoid disruption to their schedules because it will create problems at the subsequent ports their ships call. And some carriers might lose appointments for transits through the Panama Canal.
He noted that some ships bound for New Orleans are also in anchorage as terminals work off a backlog that developed in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav.
Container vessels have more options than tankers or bulk carriers, which often must go to a specific terminal to load or discharge cargo, but Hackmeyer said some bulk vessels are also discussing vessel diversions.
Hackmeyer said it would probably take at least two weeks to four weeks for the backlog at Texas ports to be worked off. ' Chris Dupin