FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Port Houston recently conducted a disparity study. What were some of the recommendations from the study?
Port Houston contracted a disparity study to evaluate equal opportunity and fairness in Port Houston’s procurement and contracting process. The disparity study highlighted many positive aspects of Port Houston’s existing Small Business Development Program, such as more than $600 million in awards and commitments to local small businesses since 2002 and exceeding Port Houston’s aggressive 35% small business participation goal.
The disparity study also highlighted areas for improvement and recommendations that will serve as a blueprint moving forward.
- Strengthen institutional support of Port Houston’s race- and gender-neutral Small Business Development Program and establish a race- and gender-conscious initiative;
- Unbundle and forecast Port Houston contracts to provide opportunities for minority- and woman-owned businesses (MWBEs);
- Institute MWBE subcontracting goals on a contract-by-contract basis;
- Develop robust good-faith effort processes; and
- Enhance outreach and capacity building efforts for MWBEs.
In April 2021, the Port Commission approved policies to expand opportunities by enhancing the existing Small Business program, establishing a minority- and woman-owned business enterprise program, and creating a Business Equity Division.
- What are some of the benefits of enrolling in the Port Houston Business Equity Program?
Program benefits include the following:
- Access to Port Houston procurement opportunities
- Participation in industry specific programming and capacity building opportunities
- Connect with other local business owners and expand your network
- Leveraging your certification with Port Houston’s partner agencies
- And much more!
- Does Business Equity replace the Port’s Small Business Program?
No, Business Equity is the name of the Port Houston Division with the responsibility for both the Small Business Development Program and the MWBE Program. It’s important to emphasize that Port Houston will continue to maintain an aggressive 35% overall Small Business (SBE) participation goal and will institute goals on a contract-by-contract basis for minority and woman-owned businesses. The overall aspirational goal for MWBE participation is 30%.
- Who can I contact to register or update my vendor profile?
Any business that proposes to do business with Port Houston must register in Port Houston’s electronic procurement system (Buy Speed). Please visit the following link: https://buyspeed.poha.com/bso/
If you require additional assistance in registering or updating your vendor profile in Buy Speed, please contact Port Houston Procurement Services at 713-670-2464.
- What are some of the advantages of creating a vendor account in the Port Houston’s E-Procurement System?
Once you create a vendor account in Port Houston’s Buy Speed System, you will receive notifications of current bid and proposal opportunities, pre-bid meeting date and times, have the ability to submit online questions to Port Houston staff, have access to the Projected Advertising Schedule, be able to view upcoming opportunities including the construction forecast reports, and more!
- What businesses are considered Minority- and Woman-Owned Enterprises?
Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE) is a Business that is at least 51% owned by one or more Minority Persons, or for which at least 51% of the equity is owned by one or more Minority Persons, and both the management and daily business operations are carried out and controlled by one or more of the Minority Persons who own it.
Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) is a Business that is at least 51% owned by one or more female American citizens, or for which at least 51% of the equity is owned by one or more female American citizens, and both the management and daily business operations are carried out and controlled by one or more of the female American citizens who own it.
- How much does it cost to become enrolled and registered in Port Houston’s Business Equity Program?
There is no cost to register in Port Houston’s Buy Speed, or to enroll in Port Houston’s Business Equity Programs. Any vendor may register in Buy Speed at any time, and all vendors are encouraged to do so. However, before applying to become a Port Houston Enrolled Small Business or MWBE, a vendor must be “certified” as a small, minority- or woman-owned business enterprise by a certifying entity. Some certifying entities, such as the Houston Supplier Development Council and the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance, assess fees as part of their certification process.
- Is Port Houston a certifying entity?
Port Houston is not a certifying agency. Port Houston accepts certifications from the following area public and private agency partners.
- City of Houston Office of Business Opportunity
- Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO)
- US Small Business Administration
- South Central Texas Regional Certification Agency
- Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts – HUB Certification
- Texas Department of Transportation
- Houston Minority Supplier Development Council
- Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance
- Does Port Houston encourage joint ventures?
Port Houston encourages joint ventures on projects. We encourage SBEs and MWBEs to network with prime contractors to pursue a joint venture between the firms to perform a specific Port Houston contract.
- If I am a construction contractor, how may I find out about upcoming construction opportunities at the Port?
Port Houston’s Project and Construction Management (PCM) Department maintains a current online listing of upcoming capital improvement projects. To view Port Houston’s future infrastructure projects and other open bids and proposals, please go to https://porthouston.com/procurement/.
- If I have a truck, how can I move containers for Port Houston?
Port Houston works with private industry to move containers. Trucking companies must contact the companies or brokers directly.
We encourage you to visit the Truckers Toolbox which will connect you to terminal traffic maps, trucker safety manuals, daily empty container and chassis acceptance, and much more!
Please visit https://porthouston.com/terminal-toolbox/.
- How can I get in touch with the Business Equity team at Port Houston?
You can send your inquiries to BusinessEquity@porthouston.com for more information.
- What’s the difference between “certified”, “enrolled”, and “registered”?
- “Registered” – means signed up into Port Houston’s Buy Speed system.
- “Certified” – means signed up with a certifying agency such as METRO or City of Houston. A business can be certified in a variety of categories, including small, veteran-owned, minority-owned, historically underutilized business, disadvantaged, woman-owned, etc.
- “Enrolled” – means signed up with Port Houston’s B2Gnow system as a Small, Minority- or Woman-Owned Business. Port Houston Enrolled businesses must meet geographic (Harris County and the surrounding 8-county) and size requirements.