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HOUSTON-For the second time in its 45-year history, the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) will have a Houston leader at the helm and its biennial global conference docking in town.

Tom Kornegay, the Port of Houston’s executive director, was named first vice president of IAPH at the recent meeting in Durban, South Africa. He assumes the presidency in 2005 at the Shanghai conference and will be leading the Tokyo-based non-profit organization, which has 350 members in 88 countries, when Houston is the host in 2007.

Houston’s only other time to host was 1977 when George Altvater was the executive director of the city’s authority, created in 1971 by the state legislature as the successor to the then-44-year-old Harris County Houston Ship Channel Navigation District. The 1977 IAPH conference was marked by the dedication of the Barbours Cut Terminal and the burial of a time capsule.

Kornegay tells GlobeSt.com that between now and the 2007 conference, which will be held in late spring or early summer, it’s likely work will be completed on the estimated 1,000-acre Bayport Container Terminal, a design for six container and three cruise berths. The plan is still under review by the US Army Corps of Engineers, but ground could break in late September pending any legal challenges. There also could be some development forthcoming on Pelican Island before the world ports organization meets.

Kornegay says the event will be staged at existing facilities, but the meeting location has yet to be determined. The preliminary plan does include opening the 1977 capsule. The local goal is to heighten international awareness about the Houston port, which is the nation’s leader in foreign waterborne tonnage, second in total tonnage and sixth largest in the world, according to the Journal of Commerce and Piers Statistics. Kornegay and Kase Lawal, the authority’s vice chairman, packaged the hard-sell presentation that won the nod eyed as a vehicle to increase traffic and business.

“The IAPH’s 2007 conference will advance Houston’s stature as a world-class destination,” Jim Edmonds, the authority’s chairman said in a press release. “In addition, I am confident that Tom Kornegay’s extensive experience will greatly enhance the direction of IAPH’s strategic leadership.

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