Port Houston is seeing solid volumes despite slowing demand

Port Houston saw solid volumes in February compared to the same month last year, with a total of 313,452 TEUs handled during the month, a 15% increase. However, the port is beginning to see signs of an expected slowdown in import demand.

Year-to-date volume is up 6% to 633,442 TEU, with growth in the first two months of 2023. However, sources indicate that terminals are starting to see some moderation in import demand, in line with the national trend. High inventories and a general decline in consumer demand are the main factors behind this decline. A general downward trend, which was expected and included in the forecast budget for 2023, is likely to continue over the next few months.

Despite the drop in import demand, Houston’s export volume remains strong, up 42% in March, due to the strength of plastic resins and other petrochemical feedstocks produced in the region and shipped globally through Port Houston.

“Whether in times of rising or falling volumes, at Port Houston we remain focused on providing excellent customer service, flexibility and reliability to the growing number of shippers who choose Port Houston. As of earlier this year, ship queues have disappeared and turnaround times for our trucking community are fast and fluid,” said Roger Guenther, executive director at Port Houston. “We also continue to drive accelerated investments on land and water as we prepare for future growth.”

At Port Houston’s breakbulk facilities, breakbulk freight is down 25% year-to-date and steel imports are down 8% year-to-date. Total tonnage through Port Houston is up 7% year-to-date.

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