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Port Houston container terminal aerial

Photo courtesy Port Houston

Resin Exports Help Port Houston as Imports Fall

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 823
September 26, 2023

Loaded exports are helping to support overall volumes at Port Houston’s container terminals as loaded import volumes fall compared to record levels in 2022.

Export volumes at Port Houston have increased by 10% year-to-date, driven primarily by resin exports. Port Houston is the top gateway for resin exports in the country, accounting for a 59% market share.

Overall container volumes at Port Houston declined in August compared to the previous year. This decrease was primarily driven by a significant drop in empty container volume and challenging year-on-year comparisons. Year-to-date, the empty container volume has decreased by 17%.

In August, Port Houston handled 307,624 TEUs, marking a 20% decrease from the previous year. This decline is attributed in part to the record-breaking activity at Port Houston’s Barbours Cut and Bayport Container Terminals during the same month last year.

Total container volumes for 2023 have now exceeded 2.5 million TEUs as of August, reaching 2,510,162 TEUs, representing a decrease of just 4% compared to the same period last year. Port Houston hit its all-time record in 2022 with 3.4 million TEUs handled.

“After a record year in 2022, we were prepared to see a slight dip in import loads and export empty containers this year,” said Roger Guenther, Executive Director at Port Houston. “That said, we know the outlook is bright. The Texas economy is the 8th largest in the world and Port Houston is a vital gateway to millions of consumers. We are ensuring the fluidity of this gateway for the future by investing now in key infrastructure enhancements.”

Recent additions at Port Houston include the arrival of three STS cranes capable of handling 15,000 TEU vessels at Bayport Container Terminal, as well as the upcoming debut of Wharf 6, which is set to receive its first vessel in the fall.

Work on the Houston Ship Channel Expansion, known as Project 11, is progressing as scheduled. By late 2024, over 27 miles of the Galveston Bay area will be completed, increasing safety and efficiency for cargo movement. The completion of Segment 1A has already resulted in reduced daylight restrictions and benefits for ships.

Total tonnage across all Port Houston terminals is down 6% through August at 33,752,499 short tons. Steel is down 14% year-to-date, totaling 3,169,512 tons. Auto import units have increased by 50% year-to-date compared to the same time period in 2022


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