Port Houston sees an increase in container exports Ship’s crew

As US imports remain well below last year’s records, Port Houston has announced that its container exports have surpassed historic 2022 volumes, signaling strong growth in the region.

Strong exports, particularly driven by demand for resin exports, are up an impressive 17% year-to-date yoy. The port has handled a total of 1,026,260 loaded TEUs (imports and exports) through April, surpassing the one million mark earlier than ever in the year.

While import container loading was expected to decline slightly this year compared to the record levels of 2022, Port Houston loaded containers are still showing a 3% year-to-date increase. Although April saw a 10% decrease in loaded containers compared to April 2022, the overall trend remains positive, according to Port Houston.

In relation to the total container volume, Port Houston recorded a decrease of 8% in April 2023 compared to the same month of the previous year and amounted to 307,879 TEU. However, the total container volume has remained relatively stable since the beginning of the year and has amounted to 1,241,910 TEU so far this year.

Port Houston attributes this normalization in cargo activity to the gradual recovery from the global supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic. The port has also achieved a balance between imports and exports, with 51% of its total containerized cargo being imports and 49% exports as of April.

Port Houston’s location along the Houston Ship Channel and over 200 private facilities contribute to its status as the nation’s largest port by shipping tonnage. Over the past year, Port Houston has made significant strides in the competitive landscape of the busiest US container ports, jumping nationally from seventh to fifth in the ranking based on the number of TEUs handled in 2022.

Port Houston Managing Director Roger Guenther emphasized the importance of proactive measures and infrastructure investments to meet growing demand.

“As the fastest growing and now the fifth largest container port in the United States, we must remain proactive and well equipped to meet the needs of our customers,” said Roger Guenther, Executive Director, Port Houston. “Infrastructure investments remain a priority in Port Houston, as does the expansion of the Houston Ship Channel, which is already improving ship transit times with the completion of Segment 1A.”

To further increase efficiency and reduce emissions, Port Houston is transitioning its terminals to cleaner equipment. The port recently welcomed 16 new yard mules for the container terminals, acquired with support from the Sea Port Environmental Grant. These clean diesel trucks will reduce emissions and optimize freight traffic within the terminals. Additionally, three new Neo-Panamax STS cranes are en route to Bayport Container Terminal to expand quayside area and capacity. Bayport’s new wharf 6 is scheduled to open in the third quarter of this year.

In April, steel imports continued to drive tonnage growth at Port Houston’s multipurpose facilities, rising 17% to 442,037 tons. Overall, the total tonnage of all Port Houston rigs is up 1% through April.

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