“What’s New With CRA” Blog: It’s Always Sunny at the Port of Galveston | 12/08/2015
By: Laci Theriot
The Port of Galveston is more than just a cruise terminal- it’s the governing body that makes up one of the major port systems along the Texas Coast. The Port of Galveston has the largest single-berth cruise terminal in the world, at more than 258,000 square feet. It is the largest cruise port in the Gulf of Mexico, and it will soon be again the only year round cruise port in Texas. The Port just celebrated 15 years of cruise business with 2643 ship calls, 18 cruise ships, and the more than 7 million cruise passengers that have travelled through the Port.
Several of the cruise lines operating out of Galveston will be bringing in bigger ships to accommodate more guests. Carnival Cruise Line will be offering their top three vessels to bring new experiences, destinations, and itineraries. Disney Cruise Lines plans to return for the 2015 holiday season through January 2016 with Disney Wonder. The Port will also be gaining their largest ship to date with Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas (1,112 ft.) and will include various cities in Mexico, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Honduras, and Belize as ports of call. A new cargo line to the Port, Grimaldi Lines, has commenced providing service to West Africa.
In regards to economic initiatives, The Port of Galveston, as a natural port, is poised for future growth. Not only are they continuing to focus on their cruise business, but the Port is also continuing to develop its Ro-Ro business as evidenced by the new Vehicle Processing Center (VPC) on the Ports Pier 10 area. It is estimated that between 30 and 35 thousand BMW automobiles will be shipped through Galveston in 2016. Due to the job creation of the VPC, the Port was able to partner with the City of Galveston’s Industrial Development Corporation which contributed funds to the project. Their staff is working on other projects wanting to locate in Galveston in the near future.
The Port has also invested in a comprehensive business continuity plan that includes protecting their unique operations during a storm event. This plan focuses on planning, response, and resiliency, and is updated every year to accommodate the numerous changes within the Port. The Port requires all of its tenants to provide them an annual hurricane plan for review prior to the next hurricane season, and they also host an annual Tenant and User Hurricane Meeting with speakers from the National Weather Service and the U.S. Coast Guard. The Port also works with the Emergency Communications Network to utilize their mass emergency notification system, SmartNotice. Their police and construction departments conduct annual hurricane drills to ensure that their equipment is ready for evacuation or deployment. The Port’s administration has also adopted the Incident Command Systems (ICS) to address the operational, planning and logistics issues before, during, and after a storm.
“CRA has performed hydrographic surveys for dredging contractors, terminals, towing and tug companies, and engineering firms with projects in Galveston. These projects have varied from sediment sampling, marine magnetometer surveys, and depth sounding surveys. The island has a dynamic maritime vibe with the Port and hosting the local offices of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers district, NOAA, and U.S. Coast Guard units, as well as being a big part of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) system. There is also great opportunity for education with Texas A&M Galveston campus opposite Galveston on Pelican Island. Our staff enjoys working in such a busy, marine town,” said Chris Ransome, President of CRA.
*Credit: Research and statistics enclosed in this blog were provided by the Port of Galveston. Please visit www.portofgalveston.com for more information.