Captain Tom Tray provided an update on the robust maritime logistics business at the recent International Business and Logistics conference hosted by San Jacinto College. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing department.
Maritime logistics business expected to grow dramatically
Rob Vanya, May 1, 2012
HOUSTON – People attending the International Business and Logistics conference, held recently at San Jacinto College (SJC) North, learned that trade at the Port of Houston is very robust and expected to increase dramatically in the near future.
Keynote speaker Captain Tom Tray, vice president of Bay-Houston Towing Company, noted that two key developments are expected to increase trade and commerce in the Houston area, and especially the maritime logistics area of trade and commerce – the expansion of the Panama Canal, and the Eagle Ford Shale project and similar emerging crude oil production projects.
“Because of an increase in domestic crude oil exploration and production, the U.S. exported more crude oil in 2011 than it imported, the first time that has happened since 1949,” Tray said. “Several new pipelines are bringing crude oil to Houston area refineries.”
Tray stated that tug and barge traffic has increased 11-fold in the Gulf Coast Intercoastal Waterway in and around the Matagorda Bay area in the past four months.
“Increase in domestic production of crude oil and natural gas will mean cheaper energy costs,” he commented. “Cheaper energy costs will give Gulf Coast refineries a cost advantage in refining petroleum and various chemical products. Consequently, the chemical and specialty chemical sectors in the area are projected to have a big renaissance.”
Tray noted there will be a high demand for tankermen and other mariners, and that there also will be a demand for maritime logistics positions, such as export documentation clerks.
San Jacinto College launched a maritime logistics degree program at the North Campus in 2010 that features a one-year occupational certificate option, and a two-year associate degree plan. According to Phillip Cohen, SJC international business and trade instructor, the program is off to a good start.
“It’s going well and I consider it ahead of schedule,” Cohen commented. “All classes, both day and night, have achieved the minimum requirement for student enrollment, and we have been able to offer employment opportunities to all students interested in a career.”
SJC networks with several major maritime and logistics companies that provide employment opportunities for graduates. “Mediterranean Shipping Company is the largest U.S. shipping company and we have over 30 students currently working for them,” remarked Cohen. “It just indicates how the maritime logistics job market continues to improve.”
Larry Newton found direction to a new career field as a student in the SJC maritime logistics program. Having been a journeyman electrician for the past 20 years, he wanted to get into importing or exporting electrical equipment, which is why he chose the maritime logistics career field. “The port is growing fast and the job market is opening up for trained, skilled labor,” he commented. “I believe San Jacinto College has the best maritime logistics program because it focuses on positions that are in demand and upcoming. The salary should be more than I made as an electrician.”
Newton will earn an occupational certificate in May, and then plans to earn an associate degree in maritime logistics from SJC before transferring to the University of Houston (UH). His ultimate career goal is to work as a customs house broker. SJC maintains an articulation agreement with UH that provides seamless transfers to students who want to pursue maritime logistics bachelor degrees.
In addition to the maritime logistics program, San Jacinto College also offers an Introduction to Ships and Shipping course at the South Campus as part of an associate degree in business administration. The College recently purchased 13 acres along the Houston Ship Channel to build a facility for maritime vessel operation training, and the College also offers non-credit maritime training courses through its Continuing and Professional Development division.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
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