Saturday, April 4 – Well, sort of...... The cruise was on a small sightseeing boat to tour the Houston Ship Channel. This is a hard-to-get ticket, one we had to reserve weeks ago! We tried to sail last fall while here in Houston but were unable to get tickets....sold out! So we reserved a spot for today. What is the cost? FREE!
The Port of Houston is a 25-mile-long complex of diversified public and private facilities located just a few hours by ship from the Gulf of Mexico. The port is consistently ranked 1st in the United States in foreign waterborne tonnage; 1st in U.S. imports; 1st in U.S. export tonnage and 2nd in the U.S. in total tonnage. It is also the nation’s leading breakbulk port, handling 65 percent of all major U.S. project cargo. The Houston Ship Channel is 45 feet deep and 530 feet wide.
As one of the world’s busiest ports, the Port of Houston is a large and vibrant component of the regional economy. A 2012 study by Martin Associates says ship channel-related businesses contribute 1,026,820 jobs throughout Texas, up from more than 785,000 jobs cited in a 2007 study. This activity helped generate more than $178.5 billion in statewide economic impact, up from nearly $118 billion. Additionally, more than $4.5 billion in state and local tax revenues are generated by business activities related to the port, up from $3.7 billion.
Our daughter, Carrie, joined us for the trip. She's pretty familiar with this area because of where she works. Enterprise Products Partners LP is involved with oil pipelines, tank storage, and loading ships. Interestingly, she was involved with the emergency unloading of a Maersk tanker, Norwegian, that collided with another ship in the channel. Who would have guessed, those two ships were some of the first sights we saw on the cruise. How cool!
Along the Houston Ship Channel lies the world’s second largest petrochemical complex and the nation’s busiest port in terms of foreign tonnage.
The channel was pretty busy. We even had to cut our trip short by about a mile because of traffic. The cruise ship does not travel the entire length of the ship channel…only about half. Unfortunately, we turned around just before the Enterprise Products Partners LP yard, so we didn't get to see it. Carrie's office is in downtown Houston, but she's frequently in this area.
Since we didn't get to see the Enterprise yard, after returning to land, Carrie drove us out to the area where they are constructing new oil holding tanks. These babies are huge! We were a little leery about driving around the area taking pictures. We kept expecting to be pulled-over by Homeland Security.
We enjoyed our cruise and recommend it to others when in the Houston area. Just be sure to visit their website and book your tour way ahead of time.
If that wasn’t a big enough day, we went to one of Carrie’s favorite pubs to watch the NCAA Boy’s Basketball playoff games. Another full, fun day in Houston.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y’all back real soon. Have a great day.