Rapid change in the container shipping industry creates opportunities, and with that come challenges. The tremendous growth that Port Houston has experienced during recent years has been healthy for our region and nation, but we must stay well ahead of future demand, providing the infrastructure necessary to serve the increased levels of commerce ahead.
Through short- and long-term planning, we are fully equipped to handle the rapidly changing environment. Ships are getting larger, driven significantly by the expansion of the Panama Canal, and we have partnered with the US Army Corps of Engineers to plan improvements required to widen the Houston Ship Channel to ensure that safe and efficient two-way traffic is uninterrupted.
We are looking even further out as well, preparing long-term planning for port assets needed for the next 20 to 25 years. Preparing now for flexibility on future demands cannot be ignored. We are investing in these terminal assets more rapidly than ever, not only in cranes to handle neo-Panamax ships and other equipment for increased volumes, but in additional container yards to accommodate unprecedented increases in container activity.
Efficiency remains the key to competitive service to the industry. Maintaining a quick turn time for the trucker and high productivity on the vessel is essential. We realize that terminals are a vital link in the supply chain, and we look to provide services that are cost-beneficial to the users of our facilities.
Investments in processes are critical as well. Ongoing improvements to systems and technology to keep our employees and dockworkers productive have been the key to maintaining our growth and maintaining a high throughput velocity.
Most importantly, it is about understanding the needs of the customer. Our constant efforts are focused on ensuring that the needs of our shippers and carriers alike are addressed.