Port Houston is seeing steady growth in container exports

Port Houston’s container exports are up significantly through March, with loaded container exports up 26%.

According to the port authorities, the total tonnage through the eight public terminals reached 12,850,330 tons, up 4% year-to-date.

The growth in exports is particularly significant given the slowdown in imports across the country.

In March, Port Houston recorded the highest monthly volume for loaded exports in its history at 349,964 TEU year-to-date. This is an increase of 26% compared to the same period last year and an increase of 10% compared to March 2022. Empty import volumes also increased 111% compared to March 2022 as shippers move containers to Houston to meet high demand for resin and Resin to cover petrochemical exports.

As the nation’s number one port for resin exports, Port Houston accounted for 59% share of US resin exports and 73% share of US PE exports in 2022. This year, the port is on track to hit the 1 million TEU mark earlier than ever, with container volume through Port Houston increasing by 3% year-on-year.

Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther attributes the port’s consistent performance to its strong export market and ability to provide both export and import customers with excellent customer service, a skilled workforce and an efficient gateway.

“We continue to see a moderation in import demand in the US and also in Houston, where loaded import container TEUs at the Port Houston terminals fell 12% in March,” Guenther said.

Port Houston’s Bayport Container Terminal is preparing for the arrival of three new STS cranes, and Wharf 6 is expected to be completed later this year. Additionally, Port Houston’s Barbours Cut Container Terminal is undergoing various upgrades, with seven new RTGs arriving this November and seven more in January 2024.

Port Houston is investing $1.4 billion in shoreside infrastructure over the next five years, and the recent completion of the first phase of the Houston Ship Channel Expansion – Project 11 is expected to increase safety, reduce congestion and reduce ship transit times by approximately one hour shorten by reducing daylight restrictions.

In March, the Port Houston multipurpose facility recorded its best month for steel since 2015 at 461,552 tons, up 15% from the same month last year. The terminals also saw exponential growth in lumber, up 5,142% year-to-date, and car import units are up 35% this year compared to last year.

The steady growth in Port Houston’s container exports bodes well for the port and the region’s economy, indicating continued growth in demand for the region’s products and services.

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