Port Houston celebrated a major milestone in October, reporting the highest volume of loaded exports in its history.
Compared to the same period last year, loaded exports increased by an impressive 6%. Year-to-date export figures also show a significant growth of 10%, with a total of 1,151,638 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) exported through October 2023. The majority of these exports consist of resins and chemicals, solidifying Port Houston’s position as the leading resins port in the nation and home to North America’s largest petrochemical cluster.
While loaded import volumes experienced a slight decline of 4% in October compared to last year, they have seen a more significant decrease of 7% year-to-date. However, when compared to pre-pandemic levels, total container imports have surged by an impressive 32% through October, surpassing the same period in 2019. Despite a slight decrease of 4% compared to last year’s record volumes, the total container volumes for the first ten months of this year reached an impressive 3,201,958 TEUs.
Port Houston continues to prioritize its operations at both the Bayport and Barbours Cut Container Terminals. The recent completion of Wharf 6 at Port Houston’s Bayport Container Terminal marked a significant milestone. Equipped with three state-of-the-art Neo-Panamax ship-to-shore (STS) cranes, this new berth aims to enhance terminal fluidity and accommodate the growing demands of import and export customers.
Speaking about the new wharf’s arrival, Roger Guenther, Executive Director at Port Houston, stated, “This addition was a significant infrastructure investment and demonstrates our commitment to creating a dependable and efficient terminal environment for our customers.”
Port Houston has even more developments in the pipeline, with Bayport Wharf 7 set to be commissioned in 2025 and the reconstruction of Barbours Cut Wharves 5 and 6 to be completed in the same year. Channel expansions for both Bayport and Barbours Cut are also expected to be finalized by 2024 and 2026, respectively, enabling safe navigation for Neo-Panamax ships in the 14,000 – 15,000 TEU class.
Despite the challenges faced by the industry, total tonnage through Port Houston has only seen a minor decline of 7% year-to-date compared to the previous year, amounting to 42,421,735 short tons. Steel volumes, however, have experienced a more significant decrease of 13% through October. On a positive note, auto import units saw a remarkable increase of 50% in October 2023 compared to the same month the previous year.
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