Port Houston’s container exports have increased significantly through March, with loaded container exports up by 26%.
According to the port authorities, the total tonnage through the eight public terminals reached 12,850,330 short tons, up 4% year-to-date.
The growth in exports is especially significant amidst the softening of imports nationwide.
In March, Port Houston recorded the highest monthly volume for loaded exports in its history, with 349,964 TEUs year-to-date. This is an increase of 26% compared to the same period last year and up 10% compared to March 2022. Empty import volumes also increased by 111% compared to March 2022, as carriers reposition containers to Houston to meet the high demand for resin and petrochemical exports.
As the nation’s number one port for resin exports, Port Houston boasted a 59% share of U.S. resins exports and a 73% share of U.S. PE exports in 2022. This year, the port is on track to hit 1 million TEUs earlier than ever before, with container volumes through Port Houston increasing by 3% compared to last year.
Roger Guenther, Executive Director at Port Houston, attributes the port’s steady performance to its strong export market and the ability to provide both export and import customers with excellent customer service, skilled labor, and an efficient gateway.
“We continue to see the softening of import demand across the U.S. and in Houston as well, where loaded import container TEUs at Port Houston’s terminals were down 12% in March,” said Guenther.
Port Houston’s Bayport Container Terminal is preparing for the arrival of three new STS cranes, and the completion of Wharf 6 is expected later this year. Additionally, Port Houston’s Barbours Cut Container Terminal is undergoing various improvements, with seven new RTGs arriving this November and seven more in January 2024.
Port Houston is investing $1.4 billion in landside infrastructure over the next five years, and the recent completion of the first segment of the Houston Ship Channel Expansion – Project 11 is expected to increase safety, reduce congestion, and improve vessel transit times by approximately an hour by reducing daylight restrictions.
In March, Port Houston’s multipurpose facility recorded the best month for steel since 2015, at 461,552 tons, up 15% compared to the same month last year. The terminals also saw exponential growth in lumber, with an increase of 5,142% year-to-date, and auto import units were up 35% thus far this year compared to last.
The steady growth in Port Houston’s container exports is a promising sign for the port and the region’s economy, indicating continued growth in demand for the region’s products and services.
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