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The following is the February, 2000 edition of "The Bulletin". Any questions or comments regarding content should be addressed to Alistair Macnab at 713-678-4300.
 
 The Editorial
 
As the economy continues along its merry way and we're enjoying the longest period of growth the world has ever seen, how is it that so many fine, experienced people are out of jobs and looking for work?
 
If you're an employer, you are probably looking at the tight bottom line and recognizing that your big investment in computer technology and keyboard personnel has to earn its keep. Clever software and neat communications systems have all but eliminated the need for the middle ranks and empowered top management to become much more engaged in the day-to-day running of business.
 
On the other hand, if you're an out-of-work middle manager or sales executive, you are now finding that your hard-earned skills are no longer in demand. You can run a line manager's office with your eyes closed; you know everyone who's in a position to help you pull off daily miracles of logistics technicality; and you understand your market and who controls the cargo.
 
But so do top management. It's a hard fact of life that as an out-of-work middle manager, your core competencies and skills have been co-opted by your former bosses and you don't bring anything new to the table when you are job hunting. Don't forget, the top people had to learn your job just to keep their own.
 
But before all the good people who look to our Job Hunters File cry: Foul! Let me offer some encouraging words of advice. Although middle management jobs are now as scarce as hen's teeth, there's a future out there for independent contractors. Yes; steady corporate jobs are mainly a thing of the past but businesses will always need extra help from time to time as new projects come along or special studies or contracts are in the planning stages.
 
As a job hunting, middle-aged, middle manager, you should recognize that prospective employers are not about to readily enter into a long-term commitment since they have been busy shedding people just like you. If you think about it, your previous employer was faced with this same dilemma: that's why you are currently unemployed.
 
But you do have experience. You do know whom to contact to get things done. You do know who controls the cargo. These are special and marketable talents. Why not be in the marketplace as an independent contractor offering your services for hire? This way, you don't need to adjust your income generating goals downwards to compete at the level of new-entrant, on-the-job trainees. All job offers have dollar and time values to the employer. When you find out what they are, you are surely in a position to make an offer that will be difficult to refuse.
 
In the exciting years ahead, we're all going to become independent contractors. As an out-of-work job hunter in February 2000, you're just a little ahead of the trend. Nothing stays the same nor lasts forever and we at the Port Bureau recognize these verities just as much as everybody else. But to belabor you with yet another cliché: we're prepared to do something about it!
 
Our Job Hunters 2000 File is now actively marketing skilled and experienced personnel to prospective employers on a contract basis. Our pool of independent, professional transportation practitioners will be available for short- and medium-term projects. Think of the Bureau as a service industry to the Service Industry. We owe it to those who have labored long in the vineyards. We must not let their talents go to waste.
 
Alistair Macnab
 
 Letters to the Editor
 
From:
Pat Collins,
Vice President Marketing,
Coastal Towing, Inc.
 
"I read the article in "The Bulletin" about the increase truck traffic to move containers into and out of the Port. The article indicated that over 50% of the containers 'originate in or are destined for a Harris County location'".
 
"Another possibility that may reduce some of the truck traffic in and around the existing container port facilities and the new facilities is to move containers by inland barge to other truck terminals located along the Houston Ship Channel. Even though this may increase handling charges, a barge can carry eighteen or more TEUs and the tow could be made up of several barges. Barge transportation can provide an efficient and environmentally sound mode of transportation and solve some of the truck traffic congestion around the Port."
 
From the Editor:
 
The economics of longer-distance, barge transportation in the Pacific Northwest versus land modes, have transformed inland carriage of container traffic to and from the port of Portland OR. There are also successful container-on-barge services between Houston and New Orleans and between Norfolk and Baltimore as well as in other locations.
 
Pat's idea for a comparatively local movement of containers by barge is certainly worth looking into and should be examined more closely. We will follow up his initiative and thank him for his interest.
 
 Stolt Parcel Tankers Honor Maiden Voyage of d.e.v."Stolt Effort"
 
The Leading Lady may have exercised her prerogative by being fashionably late, but the guests assembled for "Stolt Effort"s naming ceremony at Stolthaven, Houston on Friday January 14th. 2000, were ready to forgive her tardiness and to be overwhelmed instead, by her beauty and state-of-the-art functionality when she eventually made her debut.
 
Delayed by adverse weather, "Stolt Effort"s maiden voyage from Europe and from her builders, Danyard A/S of Denmark, was an opportunity for one of her older "Innovation Class" sisterships to take temporary center stage. Stolt's Houston management and the ship's staff were on hand to show the more than 250 guests around the 37,000 dwt parcel tanker and to explain the unique, environmentally-friendly, diesel-electric main propulsion system, the fail-safe pumping arrangements, and the double hull construction.
 
The builders and owners of the nine vessels of this class have every reason to be proud of these fine ships. All cargo tanks are made from solid duplex stainless steel with 44 integral cargo tanks within the hull and four cylindrical tanks on deck. All stiffeners and structural support members are located outside the cargo tanks, an arrangement that significantly increases tank stripping capabilities and cleaning efficiency, thus further minimizing the possibility of pollution. Cargo heating and cargo cooling arrangements as well as dedicated pumps and piping for each tank ensure that shippers' requirements are fully accommodated.
 
In the evening, The Godmother of "Stolt Effort", Mrs. Veronica Scoulios, was on hand along with Mr. Jacob Stolt-Nielsen for the Owners, and Mr. Torben Erikstrup for the Builders, to welcome invited guests to a gala dinner and dance in the historic Crystal Ballroom of the Rice Hotel. With magnificent floral centerpieces on raised antique vases, guests were intimately grouped in tables of eight to give everybody the opportunity to meet. The music, the dinner, and the service were of exceptional quality and quite a match for and tribute to an exceptional ship, the d.e.v. "Stolt Effort".
 
The Stolt Parcel Tankers Division, and Stolthaven of Houston, are subsidiaries of Stolt-Nielsen S.A. and the Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group, Limited. For more information, the Houston numbers are: (Tel) 281.457.0303 and (Fax) 281.860.5175.
 
 Gulf Winds Opens New Warehouse in Pasadena
 
Gulf Winds International, Inc. has expanded its cargo-handling operations with the opening of a new 160,000 sq.ft. facility located at 404 N. Witter in Pasadena (just off 225 and Red Bluff Road). The new facility is served by a PTRA rail siding.
 
Gulf Winds provides integrated logistics services including warehousing, transportation, distribution, and consolidation to the shipping industry. With a fully automated logistics program for their three Houston area locations, Gulf Winds provides real-time freight directing, tracking, and inventory control to its customers.
 
In addition, their own fleet of radio-equipped and dispatched tractors allows them to provide local and over-the-road haulage to all sectors of the shipping community. Look for a complete overview of Gulf Winds' operations on their website at www.gulfwindsintl.com or call 713.747.4909.
 
 1999 Preliminary Statistical Summary for the Port of Houston Authority
 
The end-of-year statistics were issued on January 21st. 2000 and show that the magic One Million TEU barrier was breached in the final days of 1999 with the annual TEU count standing at 1,001,170. Overall, container traffic over the PHA's facilities grew by 4.4% when compared with 1998 - a most creditable performance.
 
Other sectors to show growth during 1999 were Bulk International Exports (up 7%) and substantial increases in the handling of cement, petroleum products, and other miscellaneous bulks.
 
On the other hand, shipments of molasses, cottonseed oil, tallow, and bagged goods declined in 1999 when compared with the previous year.
 
The full accounting of Port Authority tonnage for 1999 based on United States Maritime Administration data is expected to be available in April 2000. In the meantime, more details of the preliminary numbers may be obtained from John P.Horan, PHA Director of Trade Development on 713.849.3629.
 
 BNSF AND CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILROADS PROPOSE MERGER
 
The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and the Canadian National Railroad have proposed a merger to join the two large carriers. BNSF itself is a product of a merger between the Burlington Northern Railroad and the ATSF Railway.
 
The proposed merger is expected to get a lot of opposition from other carriers such as the Union Pacific in the west and Eastern carriers such as the Norfolk Southern and the CSX. The UP stands to lose certain types of business such as Canadian automotive business and Canadian fertilizer to the proposed new system. Although the merger would normally have to be approved by the Surface Transportation Board, Congress has not yet reauthorized the Board, and opponents of the merger are expected to lobby Congress to abolish the Board and have the U.S. Department of Justice have jurisdiction over potential rail mergers.
 
In addition to the opposition from other carriers, chemical manufacturers are also opposed to the proposed merger claiming it will leave more than two-thirds of their members many in East Texas including the Houston/Port Arthur area with only one carrier. The United Transportation Union additionally opposes the merger worrying about potential job losses for its membership.
 
The Chemical Manufacturers Association is worried about service disruptions similar to what the industry incurred after the Union Pacific's takeover of the Southern Pacific several years ago. The Association will reportedly ask Congress for legislation limiting the railroad industry's ability to set rates and if the merger is approved, to allow industries only served by one carrier to be given rights to seek service from additional carriers.
 
The new company would be named North American Railways and have its headquarters in Montreal, Canada. The new railroad would have approximately 50,000 miles of track, 67,000 employees and $12.5 billion in revenue. The new carrier would truly be a transcontinental railroad spanning Canada and the U.S. Although the new carrier would not have one line access from major U.S. East Coast points to U.S. West Coast points, it would cover a significant area of the U.S. and be of tremendous help to major Canadian seaports such as Halifax, Nova Scotia. In addition the proposed new merger would provide one-line service between the Gulf Coast and eastern and central Canada.
 
 FMC TO LOOK AT NVO LICENSE STANDARDS
 
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is looking into a problem which arose as a consequence of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act's (OSRA) creation of a new entity, the ocean transportation intermediary.
 
This group of companies includes ocean freight forwarders and non-vessel -operating common carriers. Previously, these companies operated under different rules, with ocean forwarders being licensed by the FMC, which required them to be of good character and experience, while NVO's only had to post a bond and file a tariff.
 
When Congress passed the OSRA, NVO's with bonds and licenses were "grandfathered" and allowed to operate as the new licensed ocean transportation intermediary without having to meet the stricter standards of forwarders.
 
The FMC is now looking into what to do about those companies who were originally licensed under the OSRA but who subsequently had their bond revoked and tariff cancelled. The question before the Commission is should these companies if they post a new bond and file a new tariff, be required to reapply under the FMC's stricter "character and experience" guidelines?
 
The FMC has a case under consideration which may serve as a precedent for future cases should the Commission require this company to meet the stricter standards which previously applied to forwarders. Although most NVO's are considered to be solid companies, there are some companies who misdescribe cargo in order to get lower rates, mishandle shipments and cause other problems. Thus requiring ocean transportation intermediaries to such higher standards might allow the FMC to deny some companies a license even if they do post a bond and file a tariff.
 
 DOT GATHERING INFORMATION ON INTERMODAL EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE FROM HEARINGS
 
The U.S. Department of Transportation is gathering information on what standards it needs to set for maintenance, repair and inspection of intermodal container chassis and trailers.
 
The DOT is considering a rule-making to address these issues as a result of a request from the American Trucking Associations to shift some of the responsibility for maintaining intermodal equipment from truckers to steamship lines and other intermodal equipment owners. DOT's proposed rule would prohibit anyone from tendering or interchanging a trailer, chassis or container in a condition which could cause an accident or breakdown.
 
The DOT recently held a series of public hearings at various locations around the U.S. to gain input from the public on this proposed new rule, with representatives from DOT, the Federal Highway Administration, the Office of Motor Carrier Safety and the Maritime Administration participated in the hearings. ATA wants DOT to prohibit anyone from forcing truckers to accept equipment which does not comply with federal safety regulations unless the motor carrier has been provided with adequate equipment, time and facilities to conduct a full inspection and make adequate repairs before taking such equipment on the road. Also if such equipment was not tendered, ATA wants the motor carrier to be exempt from any liability due to accidents deemed to be the fault of non-safe equipment.
 
Drayage operators also want equipment deemed safe to operate beyond the ocean intermodal terminal and not be found liable when equipment owners and lessors provide them with unsafe container chassis or trailers.
 
 GSP RENEWAL SIGNED
 
President Clinton has signed legislation renewing the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The legislation retroactively allows continued application of GSP during the period that GSP was not in force from the time GSP expired until the new legislation was passed. As a result of the new bill, GSP will be renewed until at least September of 2001.
 
 LEGISLATION INTRODUCED INTO BOTH SENATE AND HOUSE ON MARITIME TAX REFORM
 
Senator John Breaux (D-LA), a leading proponent of the U.S. merchant marine, and Reps. Jim McCrery (R-LA) and William Jefferson (D-LA) have introduced a five-point tax reform program whose goal is to retain vessels under the U.S. flag and revitalize the U.S. merchant marine. The bills are S-1858 and H.R. 3225
 
The new legislation would increase the Maritime Administration's Capital Construction Fund (CCF) which is designed to provide funds for the construction of vessels in U.S. shipyards. The bill would also:
 
  • Remove the cap on earnings from U.S.-flag shipping operations and duties arising from foreign ship repairs that are deposited into the CCF. Also earnings from U.S.-flag foreign built vessels would be allowed to be deposited into the fund. This money would be tax-free until removed for construction of vessels in U.S. shipyards.
  • Remove the requirement for U.S. flag lines to depreciate vessels over a ten-year period. Instead, U.S. flag lines would be allowed to fully depreciate a vessel in the year it is acquired and documented under the U.S. flag.
  • Remove the alternative minimum tax on shipping income earned from the operation of U.S.-flag vessels in the foreign trades.
 
Senator Breaux considers the removal of the alternative minimum tax (AMT) to be one of the most important parts of the proposed legislation. Senator Breaux stated that such a tax on commercial vessels does not exist in any other foreign nation and that the other portions of the proposed legislation would be extremely ineffective without elimination of the AMT.
 
The proposed legislation would be available to all U.S.-flag vessels including Sea-Land Service, APL lines, Crowley and Lykes Brothers which were recently merged or purchased by foreign owned companies.
 
In addition, the foreign-source income tax exclusion provided to other Americans working outside the United States would be extended to U.S. seafarers working on U.S.-flag vessels engaged in international commerce allowing them to exclude up to $75,000 of their income from U.S. income taxes.
 
 INCOTERMS 2000
 
You are invited to a seminar on Tuesday February 22nd.2000 to hear Frank Reynolds, a regular feature writer in the Journal of Commerce and The Exporter, examine and explain the new INCOTERMS 2000.
 
Sponsored by the U.S. Council for International Business ((USCIB), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), and Educational Resources International (ERI), the seminar will be held at the Hyatt Regency Houston Airport Hotel, 15147 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, and will cost $275.00 per attendee.
 
Topics will include a review of the changes and highlight risk and cost transfer points with particular emphasis on the way we customarily like to conduct international business here in the United States. A copy of the official ICC Incoterms 2000 publication and the completely updated "Incoterms for Americans" reference book will be included in the price as will a continental breakfast.
 
This seminar is a must for all exporters, importers, forwarders, customhouse brokers and other entities involved in international trade. The Port Bureau welcomes this opportunity for Houston's business community to reacquaint itself with these important trading terms, which are used throughout the world as the basis for creating business relationships and the transfer and transportation of goods between seller and buyer. The Texas Gulf International Shippers' Council - a service of the Port Bureau - is frequently asked to clarify INCO terms for clients and is pleased to do so. This seminar, however, is designed to bring us all up-to-date.
 
For more details you may call 800.865.6201 (0900-1600 Hours Eastern time) for registration materials.
 
 Port Freeport: A Positive Attitude; A Perfect Location
 
As the Port of Houston Authority and the City of Texas City each develop plans for a super-regional container port, its worth taking a fresh look at Port Freeport which is one of the fastest growing ports on the Texas Gulf Coast. As a niche port, Freeport can point to a recent string of successful accomplishments including the addition of five new steamship lines as well as to steady use of their Deep Berthing Area by a number of semi-submersible operators.
 
Averaging over 60,000 TEUs per year, it's easy to understand why Port Freeport is the number two destination for containerized cargo on the Texas Gulf Coast. Ongoing improvements to the docks and marine facilities, a mobile, multi-purpose crane and an abundance of container storage space, allow the port to compete effectively with its larger neighbors in the containerized cargo market. Indeed, the important liner operations of Great White Fleet and Dole Liner Express both connect Port Freeport to Central America and the Caribbean Islands on a weekly basis.
 
But there's much more to Port Freeport than containers. General cargo, project cargo, and the aforesaid Deep Berthing Area for semi-submersible operations are just some the successful operations mounted by the public port administration. The port is also home to a wide range of maritime activity by such private sector giants as Dow Chemical, Phillips Petroleum, BASF, PF&T, and ARI. The port's location just 1.3 miles from deep water and 45 feet channel depth, attracted 29,013,797 short tons of international and domestic business in 1998 to make Port Freeport, number 53 in U.S. port rankings according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
 
For more information, please feel free to call Don Allee, Director of Trade Development on 409 233.2667 x265. You may also reach him by fax on 409.233.5625 or by e-mail on allee@tgn.net
 
 Texas City Public Meeting: The Megaport Project
 
A good crowd of business and maritime interests and students was on hand on the evening of Wednesday, January 26th. 2000 to be welcomed by Texas City Mayor, Charles T. Doyle, in the magnificent new Convention Center in Texas City.
 
There is keen community interest in obtaining as much information as possible on the various and different merits for locating a regional container megaport somewhere in Galveston Bay. Texas City's Shoal Point project has attracted substantial local support and is considered by many to be a preferred site when compared with the Port of Houston Authority's rival Bayport project.
 
After opening remarks by Randy Dietel, Chairman of the Texas City Foreign Trade Zone Corporation, Doug. Hoover, Executive Director of the City of Texas City's Management Services chaired the various presentations, which comprised:
 
Shoal Point Geo-Tech Soil Study
by Jim Shiner, Shiner-Moseley & Associates, Inc.,
 
Drayage Costs Study
by Captain Michael Godinich, Galveston-Texas City Pilots Association,
 
Merits of Shoal Point
by Jim Blackburn, Galveston Bay Conservation and Preservation Association.
 
Mr. Shiner's topic was the suitability of constructing a container terminal on dredged material disposal, which is the basis for Shoal Point. His studies show that for an additional cost of $90,000 per acre, site preparation activities using the "bridge lift" subsurface foundation system would permit terminal construction to commence in 18 to 30 months after starting site preparation activities. The additional cost is only 4% of the overall reported project cost of $500 Million, and is viewed as acceptable to the project's economic feasibility.
 
Captain Godinich, in his remarks, drew attention to the fact that 69% of current Houston-Galveston container traffic is destined for or originates in Houston or Texas points. This traffic is moved mainly by truck. Containers traveling further comprise:
 
11% to the West;
8% to South Central;
7% to the Central Gulf;
3% to Chicago;
2% to Memphis.
 
Terminal handling and trucking costs can be competitive at Shoal Point, stated Captain Godinich, with an adequate return on investment. His presentation compared and contrasted his projections with current tariff costs in Galveston and Barbours Cut.
 
Jim Blackburn, although an opponent of any 50 ft. channel depth at Bayport or across Galveston Bay, was of the opinion that a 50 ft. channel depth would be acceptable at Texas City and would be unlikely to unduly increase salinity to the detriment of the Bay's eco-system. It was his view also, that landside truck routes could be directed away from residential areas in Texas City. Shoal Point was a much better option for a regional container megaport than Bayport.
 
Following the formal presentations, there was a question and answer period when the issue of the demonstrated need for a 50 ft. channel was queried. Was it not so that the existing tanker interests at the Port of Texas City were no longer seeking a 50 ft. channel following the success of offshore lightening operations? Could a 50 ft. channel be justified solely by projected Shoal Point container traffic? Other questions reflected truck traffic routing between Shoal Point and Houston, which seemed to be a largely unknown factor and might impinge on the amenity of cities and communities in between since so much of the anticipated business would be "local" to Houston and Texas.
 
Mayor Doyle closed the proceedings by announcing that the Shoal Point project would now be called the Houston-Galveston Megaport and that it would be marketed to private investors in this fashion. There was substantial worldwide interest, stated the Mayor, and he was pleased to share the evening's positive message with all in attendance
 
Mr. Hoover can be reached at his City of Texas City office on 409.643.5927 or by fax at 409.942.1073.
 
 Tow Transit Data for Local Area
 
Totals for all tow traffic, incorporating a tug with one or more barges, show steady volumes over the past three years with 104,897 movements in 1997; 102,671 in 1998; and 104,457 movements in 1999.
 
The numbers are for our local VTS area comprising Houston, Texas City, Galveston, and Bayport and are compiled by U.S. Coast Guard personnel.
 
 The Houston Center for Maritime Education
 
Professional classes continue to be held in the Board Room of the Port Bureau as the successful Executives' Education Program moves through its 1999-2000 program.
 
Upcoming classes are as follow:
 
Warehouse and Terminal Management (New Module)
Wednesday February 23rd. 2000
Inventory and distribution questions are examined; location and bonded capabilities discussed; and add-on services evaluated.
 
Logistics Management (Repeat Module)
Wednesday March 8th. 2000
Logistics and supply chain management. The future of freight transportation intermediaries (FTIs) surely lies in the hands of those who understand the whole, source-to-destination transportation and documentation processes.
 
The Charter Market, Charter Parties, Bills of Lading, and Other Forms of Contract of Afreightment (Repeat Module)
Wednesday April 5th. 2000
The all-purpose refresher course for brushing up on your documentation and contracting skills. The new INCOTERMS 2000 will be carefully examined.
 
The Ocean Freight Forwarder(New Module)
Wednesday April 26th. 2000
You are not a freight forwarder but you need to know what a freight forwarder does and can do for you. We'll be examining the responsibilities of ocean freight forwarders and their obligations to shippers and ocean carriers under the law.
 
Each one-day module costs $95.00 and includes a light lunch. Class sizes are strictly limited and must be prepaid. Fees, however, are transferable to other modules or to other individuals but are forfeited after three no-shows.
 
Expert and professional guest instructors are recruited for all classes. For more information and to reserve the class or classes of your choice, call Cynthia at the Port Bureau on 713.678.4300
 
 Customs' ACS May Not Find a Successor in ACE
 
The 15-year old U.S. Customs Automated Commercial System (ACS) has been widely reported as being in imminent danger of shutting down through overloading and, indeed, there have been several "brown-outs" over past months when the system was in danger of bringing trade to a halt by not responding to data input.
 
The ACS successor is called the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and has been running as a pilot program in prototype. Customs, however, are now reported to be on the brink of announcing plans to end the ACE model because of a lack of funds to upgrade the entire system.
 
It has been proposed by the Clinton administration that further development and implementation of ACE to replace ACS should be by means of additional user fees but importers point out that they already pay more than $1 Billion annually and are resisting paying more. It is generally conceded that both sides of this issue remain wide apart and that in the absence of continued funding; Customs have little option but to terminate the prototype.
 
While Customs installed a series of temporary fixes to ACS last year, it is recognized by all parties that implementation of ACE is of great importance and that the improved technology built-in to ACE is essential to efficiently process the rapidly growing volume of U.S. imports.
 
The Houston Customhouse Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association (HCBFFA) are maintaining a close watch on these developments. The Association meets quarterly with U.S. Customs, most recently on February 2nd. 2000, with an agenda that also included broker compliance issues, Customs' training programs, warehouse matters, and the introduction of email communications between Customs and the Brokerage community.
 
For more information on HCBFFA, you may call Jeannie Angeli, Association Coordinator, on 713.678.4300
 
 Vopak Host Shanghai Municipal Delegation to Houston
 
Vopak, the new name for the combined resources of Van Omeren and Pakhoet/Paktank, received Royal recognition in November 1999 and are now fully operational under their new name here in Houston.
 
In furtherance of new developments by the company in China, Vopak's Project Manager for the Asia Pacific Region, Lars Bruun, was in Houston on January 18th-20th. to lead a high powered delegation from the Shanghai Economic and Trade Department to examine the Port of Houston and Vopak's installations along the Houston Ship Channel.
 
Jiang Yiren, Vice Mayor of Shanghai, supported by staff members of the Municipal Economic Commission, the Shanghai Taxation Bureau, and the Foreign Affairs Department, headed the Chinese visitors.
 
A cruise down the Ship Channel from the Turning Basin to Vopak's Deer Park location aboard the charter yacht, "Stargazer", was the opportunity for John Rydlund, a Port of Houston Authority Trade Development Manager, to explain the PHA's role as the public entity responsible for Channel safety, and the quality of the water and air, as well as its operational function as a landlord and terminal operator.
 
Also aboard the cruise was Alistair Macnab of the Port Bureau who was on hand to explain to the visitors, Houston's unique combination of public and private investment in creating a world-class seaport which places Houston at the top of the league with regard to petro-chemical production, storage, and distribution. Channel deepening and widening financed by bonds issued by the public Port Authority have encouraged private businesses like Vopak to invest their own capital in the development of state-of-the-art terminals on the banks of the Ship Channel.
 
The Channel cruise was followed by a guided tour of Vopak's Deer Park facility with the visitors then taken to NASA then on to the Galleria for shopping. An evening reception hosted by Mr. Bruun, supported by executives from Vopak's Houston organization, was the occasion for the exchange of gifts and for Mr. Jiang to thank Vopak, the Port of Houston Authority, and the Greater Houston Port Bureau for their guidance and hospitality. The Shanghai Municipality is in the process of developing an offshore container terminal and an industrial park. Houston's successes in these areas were most encouraging and will help Shanghai as it plans for the future.
 
The Shanghai Municipal Foreign Economic Relations and Trade Commission can be reached by international telephone on +86.21.6275.2200 or by fax on +86.21.6275.1576. The PHA Trade Development Department's telephone number is 713.670.2583.
 
 
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