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Best March Ever at Port Houston with Strong Quarterly Container Volumes

Port Houston
Port Houston reports container volumes skyrocketed in Q1 2024 (file photo)

Published Apr 19, 2024 4:08 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

Container volumes at Port Houston have skyrocketed in the first quarter of 2024. Port executives reported that last month was Houston’s biggest March ever, and they are continuing to take steps to grow the port’s capabilities.

Consumer spending on items like furniture and appliances they said contributed to the strong container volumes. The continued growth in volumes for the port also comes as the West Coast ports continued to rebound after weak volumes in 2023 in part due to fears of the labor negotiations and predictions that the currently lower transit volumes at the Panama Canal might negatively impact U.S. Gulf Coast and East Coast ports.

Port Houston reports volumes were up 15 percent in the first quarter of 2024 over the prior year, with a total of 1,069,917 TEUs year-to-date. In March alone, the port handled 360,991 TEUs, an increase of 20% compared to March 2023.

The growth came both in loaded import volume and loaded exports. Loaded import volumes were up 23 percent this March compared to the same month last year and 14 percent year-to-date. Loaded export volumes, which are primarily resins, also increased by 12 percent in March and 15 percent for the year to date.

Volumes however in the bulk and heavy cargoes were more mixed during the quarter. Lumber was strong in the first quarter (up 18 percent) but steel volumes at Port Houston’s multipurpose facilities decreased by 10 percent in March and were down 20 percent in the first quarter.

“The improvements we continue to make at our facilities, combined with a committed workforce, have allowed us to efficiently handle the double-digit growth in both imports and exports during the first quarter,” said Roger Guenther, Executive Director at Port Houston. 

Port officials highlight the recent arrival of six hybrid-electric rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes, one of several deliveries of new cranes scheduled for this year. The cranes are both more efficient and more environmentally friendly. In addition to RTGs, three new STS cranes are expected to be delivered to Port Houston this summer. Other work includes added truck bypass lanes that will enhance safety within the terminals and increase cargo handling efficiency.