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Posted on: November 28, 2023

Galveston Wharves 2024 Budget Forecasts Record Growth

The Galveston Wharves 2024 budget forecasts record operating revenues, cruise sailings and cruise passenger counts. Adopted by the Galveston Wharves Board of Trustees on Nov. 21, the budget includes projected operating revenues of $72.5 million, $35.5 million in operating expenses and a net income of $37 million.

“Record revenues will allow the port to fund major expansion and maintenance projects to maximize port assets, generating regional economic growth and more jobs,” said Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves port director and CEO.

Revenues are forecast to be 12 percent over 2023 income, largely due to cruise industry growth, as well as increases in dockage, wharfage and real estate fees. Below is a breakdown of major 2024 revenue categories:

  • Cruise-related income – $49.8 million
  • Real estate – $10.6 million
  • Dockage, including lay ships – $5.6 million
  • Cargo wharfage – $2.3 million

Cruise Passenger Growth in 2023 and 2024

The port expects a 30 percent increase in cruise passengers at the end of 2023 due to the addition of a third cruise terminal in November 2022, higher occupancies on larger ships and more sailings. One million passengers passed through Galveston cruise terminals in 2022, compared to as many as 1.4 million expected by the end of 2023.

That growth trend should continue in 2024. The port anticipates a 14 percent increase to 1.6 million passengers, driven by larger ships like the new Carnival Jubilee and a new record of approximately 390 cruise sailings.

Major Capital Projects in 2024

The port will use cash reserves to help fund several major capital projects while using grants and revenue bonds for the balance. Project activity in 2024 includes the following: 

  • Completion of Cruise Terminal 25 improvements
  • Begin West Port Cargo Complex improvements, including expanded berth space
  • Begin work on the proposed Cruise Terminal 16 and parking garage
  • Make additional internal roadway improvements
  • Continue expansion of the Express Lot for onsite parking at cruise terminals 25 and 28
  • Demolish the unused grain elevator

Rees said, “We’re reaping the rewards of our long-range plan to increase revenues and reduce costs to reinvest cash reserves in port improvements. Next year will be a landmark year in the port’s 198-year history thanks to $42.3 million in state grants, the support of our Wharves Board and City Council, investments by our cruise partners and hard work by our great staff.”

About the Galveston Wharves at the Port of Galveston:

Located at the entrance to Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel, the Port of Galveston has been a thriving maritime commercial center since 1825. Just 45 minutes from open seas, the 840-acre port has infrastructure and assets to serve growing cruise, cargo and commercial businesses. 

The port is the fourth most popular cruise homeport in the U.S. The port also leases and maintains a wide range of cargo facilities on the deep-water Galveston Harbor, which is ranked among the top 50 busiest U.S. cargo waterways. The Galveston Wharves is a self-sustaining city entity whose mission is to generate and reinvest port revenues to benefit the Galveston community with economic growth, jobs and sales tax revenues.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kathy Thomas, kathy@communitystrategiesllc.com

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