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Port of Houston Hosts US Security Briefing
At a briefing held Wednesday (Jan. 30) at the Port of Houston Authority, U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Congressman Michael McCaul praised joint security efforts at the Port of Houston as “the greatest example of public-private collaboration in the nation.”
McCaul chose the port as the site to host the briefing on security and emergency preparedness to illustrate the importance of the Port of Houston to the nation’s economy and energy security. The Port of Houston is home to the largest petrochemical manufacturing complex in the United States and second largest in the world.
McCaul met with Port of Houston Authority officials as well as Houston, Harris County and federal law enforcement and industry stakeholders to discuss security operations at the port and the surrounding industrial complex. He noted that his first official act as chairman was to visit the Port of Houston and that today’s event attracted the “largest congressional delegation to visit the port.”
In a press conference after the briefing, Congressman McCaul discussed port security, as well as recent developments in the Middle East related to national security.
“The collaboration between the public and private sector and law enforcement at all levels is one of the most impressive in the nation,” he said, noting the threat of terrorism puts the port at risk.
“We had a very good conversation about the measures being taken to avoid that risk. The expansion of the Panama Canal will bring great opportunity with increased exports of liquid natural gas from what is already the energy capital of the United States and a national leader in the movement of cargo.”
With the opening of the expanded Panama Canal and the larger ships it will provide, McCaul noted that dredging is an issue “because without dredging these ships cannot enter the ship canal,” he said. “So we are proposing legislation, a Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund bill that will ensure that more of the dollars that we send to Washington come back to the ports.
The Port of Houston exports more than any other U.S. port. More than 8,000 vessel calls are made at the port annually.