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GALVESTON, TX-Galveston City Council is calling a special election Dec. 18 for voters’ action on a port merger plan to create a regional operation with Houston.

Galveston’s counsel Susie Green tells GlobeSt.com that council approved the terms negotiated with the Houston Port Authority, Galveston Wharves of Board and Galveston City Council. The plan calls for Galveston Bay to host the regionalized port, but the Port of Houston Authority will be the manager. The Port of Galveston Authority will become a business unit of the overseer. Houston’s port authority will infuse $30 million in the next 10 years into the Galveston operation.

If approved, lawyers will dig in to compile and execute the definitive agreement. All involved say that process may take awhile due to the volumes of paperwork accompanying such a move.

The Galveston port encompasses 300 operating acres in city limits and 500 acres on Pelican Island, just outside of Galveston proper. Of the 500 Pelican Island acres, 50 acres have been developed, 100 are planned for development and the rest are in a land bank.

The end goal is to capture nearly all of the lucrative container shipping business in the Gulf of Mexico. GlobeSt.com previously was told that Houston has a toehold on about 62% of the Gulf’s market share. The Houston port generates $7.7 billion in annual revenues and is the number one port in foreign tonnage and second in total tonnage in the US. In 2000, Houston’s port handled 175 million tons in comparison to Galveston’s 6.89 million tonnage.

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