Photo courtesy Port Houston

Port Houston Reports First Down Month of 2022 as it Closes Record Year

Mike Schuler
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January 19, 2023

Port Houston has closed out its best year on record in 2022 with 3.9 million TEUs handled.

As the port reports, the figure is nearly double the volume posted six years ago in 2016 and 492,526 TEUs more than in 2021.

Total tonnage was up 22% for the year, reaching 55,060,963 short tons for a new record, the port said.

Port Houston’s Bayport and Barbours Cut container terminals were among last year’s biggest winners of the eastward shift in imported cargo volumes.

December was the only month last year that the port did not see double-digit growth over 2021 amid “softening of demand that mirrors other gateways across the country,” Port Houston said in its update. In fact, December volumes were down 12% compared to December 2021, to 292,027 TEUs, with loaded imports declining 16% year over year.

On the other hand, exports increased 7% year over year, making for a December record.

Steel imports through Port Houston were up 25% in December and 49% for the year. At more than 5 million short tons, it was the highest year for steel import tonnage at Port Houston in more than five years. Steel import products with large increases include line pipe, standard pipe, oil country goods, heavy structural shapes, and wire rods. Although down 29% for the month of December, auto import units ended the year 7% up. Bagged goods imports were up 50% as compared to last year.

“The volumes we’ve experienced this year at Port Houston have been incredible, and we never wavered in our commitment to do our part to efficiently move cargo through our terminals,” said Roger Guenther, Executive Director at Port Houston. “The record growth seen over the last couple of years has been supported by continued investments in Port Houston terminals as well as the immense dedication of the Port Houston staff and ILA labor who are committed to moving our region’s cargo. As we always have, as we head into 2023 we will continue to stay in front of the curve to provide exceptional service.”

As gCaptain reported earlier this month, total U.S. container imports in December showed a continuing return to pre-pandemic levels, with U.S. East and Gulf Coast ports seeing the greatest reduction while West Coast ports started to regain market share, according to figures released by Descartes Systems Group’s (Nasdaq: DSGX).

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