Port of Galveston

Port of Galveston

Port director

www.portofgalveston.com

As 2004 begins, the maritime industry faces numerous challenges. Port security remains a priority. As these security needs are identified and implemented, the role of the port authority should become focused on regional economic development. Recognizing that financial resources are limited, and that significant infrastructure improvements and investments are required to upgrade and maintain our facilities, ports should examine alternative partnership strategies.

One innovative approach in providing continued investment to port facilities is the use of public-private partnerships. Used properly, this development strategy provides long-term benefits to both parties. In Galveston's experience, this investment tool allowed the port to increase its value to the local, regional and state economies, while establishing a long-term business partnership that benefits both parties.

Whether financed through a public-private partnership or by traditional financing methods, any development strategy should be handled carefully and judiciously. It is important to recognize that any development strategy can be undertaken with a limited budget using sound incremental financial investments. This does not necessarily require major up-front capital investments. Smaller ports can find their niche and succeed with board vision and staff teamwork, combined with careful planning.

The maritime industry needs to recognize the role we play in our country's economic development and growth. Ports must develop and implement plans that allow cargo to be moved quickly and efficiently through our facilities in support of this goal. This is essential to the long-term U.S. economic recovery and to maintain our position as a leader of the world trade community.