In win for energy industry, Houston limits large containerships

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(HOUSTON) — Commissioners for the Port of Houston Authority have agreed to limit the number of ships 1,100 feet or longer that can enter the Houston Ship Channel, a request pushed by energy companies fearing that especially large containerships will cause waterway traffic jams, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The resolution will allow just one of these ships each week, and they will be restricted to one movement each day. That means a large containership entering the channel one day could not leave until the next day.

This topic has been a point of contention for months. Houston Pilots, charged with guiding vessels in and out of the channel, have enacted safety measures that only allow moving these ships during the day. And the channel's typical two-way traffic is reduced to just one-way traffic when moving the larger containerships.

This prompted a group of energy companies to form the Coalition for a Fair and Open Port. It hired an outside firm that found one-way traffic and the growing use of large containerships could suppress the oil and gas industry's ability to grow at a time when the United States and Texas are poised to become exporting powerhouses.

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By Professional Mariner Staff