Port Houston experienced solid February volumes compared to the same month last year, with a total of 313,452 TEUs handled during the month, marking a 15% increase. However, the port is starting to see signs of expected softening in import demand.
Year-to-date volumes are up 6% to 633,442 TEUs, with growth throughout the first two months of 2023. However, sources indicate that the terminals are beginning to see some softening in import demand, consistent with the national trend. High inventory levels and a general decrease in consumer demand are the main factors in this decline. A general downward trend is likely to continue over the next several months, which was anticipated and included in the 2023 forecast budget.
Despite the decline in import demand, export volumes in Houston remain strong, up 42% in March, driven by the strength of plastic resins and other petrochemical commodities produced in the region and delivered globally through Port Houston.
“Whether a time of volume surge or decline, at Port Houston we continue to focus on providing excellent customer service, fluidity, and reliability to the growing number of shippers that choose Port Houston. Since the beginning of this year, vessel queues have disappeared, and turn times are quick and fluid for our trucking community,” said Roger Guenther, Executive Director at Port Houston. “We also continue to press forward with accelerated investments, both landside and waterside, as we prepare for future growth.”
At Port Houston’s breakbulk facilities, general cargo declined 25% year-to-date, and steel imports declined by 8% year-to-date. Total tonnage through Port Houston is up 7% year-to-date.
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