The Greater Houston Partnership on Wednesday hosted a State of the Port Address by Port of Houston Authority Chair Jim Edmonds.
GHP President Jeff Moseley welcomed the crowd at the Hyatt Regency Houston, recalling the work of his predecessors at the Houston Chamber of Commerce who worked for the creation of the Houston Ship Channel. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
Captain Bill Diehl, chair of the GHP Port Task Force, introduced the elected officials in the audience and thanked the sponsors of the event. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
Diehl introduced Annette Edmonds, wife of PHA Chair Jim Edmonds, who introduced her husband for the keynote speech.
Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
“His integrity and his honesty are beyond reproach,” she said. “His commitment is unquestionable and there has never been a moment when Andrew and Sarah and I have not been proud of him.”
Edmonds said business is good at the Port of Houston. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
“The Port of Houston is the maritime gateway to Texas and the Heartland of America,” Edmonds said to begin his remarks. “We have been able to carve out that distinction by stressing our geographic advantage over other ports, helping to attract additional cargoes.”
Edmonds noted that the Port of Houston Authority is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
He said the port is on its way to another profitable year.
“I’m sure you will agree, any business that can demonstrate profitability in these times of economic uncertainty is on the right path,” Edmonds said, asserting that the port is contributing to regional prosperity.
“I sincerely believe the worst thing for the people of Houston and the state of Texas is to operate as if we are in a recession,” he said. “We aren’t.”
Edmonds said the economy is recovering faster than the popular media is reporting.
“We must be bold when others are timid,” he said. “We must be forward thinking. We can’t afford to wait until the news of recovery comes out on CNN or Bloomberg News. We must advance the vision of economic prosperity now.”
Edmonds said the port is aggressively positioning itself for the expansion of the Panama Canal.
“It’s a high stakes competition that will significantly benefit only a handful of U.S. ports,” he said. “Fortunately our geographic location is consistent with our vision as the Gateway to Texas and the Heartland of America."