Oil and Gas to Shipping – Houston Growth Opportunities

city skyscrapers

The oil price dive is still impacting the market in loss of rigs, jobs and non-crucial services in the first quarter of 2015. If you are in an industry that is not legislated as a necessity, you are probably looking to see what’s next on your horizon. Luckily, Houston growth opportunities are abundant.

There are quite a few industries affected by the fickleness of oil prices. A recent article in the Houston Business Journal reviewed the various industries in Houston and categorized their risk factors as follows:

Most at risk due to oil price fluctuations:

  • Oil & Gas Production
  • Oil & Gas Services
  • Oil & Gas sector-wide

Somewhat at risk for market price of oil:

  • Pipeline Transportation
  • Engineering Services
  • Manufacturing Steel

Least at risk for petroleum price drop:

  • Manufacturing Refining
  • Manufacturing Chemicals
  • Construction Sector-wide

Refining and constructions are still strong thanks to the construction boom in the East End of Houston. If energy companies are involved in construction that is expected to be finished in 2017 or 2018, the timing should coincide with the strengthening of the markets.


So what’s the good news for Houston Industries and Business?

The good news is that there are emerging opportunities to help fill the new void in the job market. With the widening of the Panama Canal, the new super cargo ships can carry a lot more tonnage from Asian ports directly into the Gulf Coast. Containerized cargo has traditionally gone through ports on the East or West coast to be distributed but now businesses want to pull product closer to demand centers and reduce overland drays—and the U.S. Southeast is one of the fastest-growing population areas in the country. Given the threat of labor stoppages and weather-related disturbances at U.S. ports, like the recent port strikes, companies are building contingencies into their network design. The Port of Houston’s central location gives it a competitive edge and it already handles over 60% of the cargo that comes into the Gulf of Mexico.

Cargo Containers in Port of Houston – credit: Port Authority of Houston

According to an article in Chron.com the Port of Houston plans to spend $120 million+ to dredge the channels that link its container terminals at Bayport and Barbours Cut. They will then match the depth of the 45-foot Houston Ship Channel. The waterways can accommodate the larger ships that will be able to traverse a wider canal.

This massive move and Ship Channel expansion will need buildings, warehouses and all things that revolve around logistics. Plus, all of the support services that growth brings.

In a city with a business mind there is always a way forward. When one thing falters in Houston, another steps in to take its place.

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