The petrochemical industry, which is already responsible for the majority of the products being exported through the Port of Houston, is in the midst of a renaissance made possible in part by abundant, low-priced shale gas.
As new plants are built and existing plants expanded, exports will rise and so too will the number of trucks making trips between the plants and the Port of Houston. The plant expansions of today will translate into more trucks on the road tomorrow. Truck traffic in Harris County is projected to increase to about 34,000 trucks a day by 2030. Fortunately, there are plans to add over 4,000 roadway lane miles to the 10-county Houston-Galveston region by 2035 to help accommodate this growth .
Over 20,000 trucks per day pass through Harris County, and approximately half of that traffic takes place right here in the Houston Port Region. A good number of these trucks are making short trips between one of the over 130 petrochemical companies that line the 26-mile Houston Ship Channel and the Port of Houston. They are carrying intermediate petrochemical products for export that will be used to make clothing, medical equipment and supplies, automotive parts, televisions, computers, food, building materials, and more. Some of these finished goods will then be reimported.
It is not only the petrochemical industry that is booming in Texas, so too is the population, to the tune of about 1,200 people per day. This increase in population translates into an increase in demand for imported consumer goods. Goods that enter the region through the container terminals at Barbour’s Cut and Bayport are then moved by truck to local distribution warehouses, and from there to their ultimate destination (see Figure 1).
Interestingly, despite the fact that the entire U.S. can be reached by truck in 3-4 days from the Port of Houston, the lion’s share of these goods are not destined for other states (see Figure 2). Over 70% of the goods imported through the Port of Houston container terminals are consumed by the 7 million people located within a single day’s drive. Unlike many other ports, Houston does not import goods to ship to Chicago or other cities by rail or truck; the products are destined for consumption here in this region. Most of the freight in Harris County is moved by truck, an amount that is projected to increase by roughly 70 percent by 2030. This increase in trucking traffic brought about by increases in both exporting and importing of goods is good news for future job seekers. According to a 2007 study by the Houston Galveston Area Council (HGAC), the trucking industry supplied over 20,000 jobs, a number that will grow with the expansion of freight movement in and around the Port region.
The Economic Alliance Welcomes New Members
The Economic Alliance Houston Port Region is a member-based organization with a mission to grow a vibrant regional economy. The Economic Alliance is proud to welcome the following companies to their membership roster so far this year.
Armand Bayou Nature Center
Arends Inspection, LLC
Blasingame-Whitley, Attorneys at Law
Block & Elmore, PPLC
Edge Energy Consulting, LLC
Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital
John’s Trim Shop
KAP Project Services, LTD
Marco A. Arredondo, Inc.
Pinnacle Sign Company
San Jacinto Family YMCA
Shafaii Party and Reception Center, Inc.
The Boeing Company
University of Houston – Clear Lake
Wayne Wicks & Associates
Zarinkelk Engineering Services, Inc.