Port Of Heuneme Continues To Ride Wave Of Growth In Global Trade

Realized the best cargo year it its 76 year history

By MarEx 2013-07-22 09:16:00

The Port of Hueneme realized the best cargo year it its 76 year history announcing all-time increases in import/export trade. The total tonnage for FY 2012-2013 jumped to 1,438,596 metric tons representing a 9.2% increase over FY 2011-2012, and a 2.8% increase over the Port’s previous record of 1,399,670 metric tons set in FY 2005-2006. This represents a continuing path to economic recovery bringing the Port beyond trade levels realized prior to the economic downturn.

Port Commission President Jason Hodge comments on the rising figures, “The success of the Port ties directly to our community and strategic partners. Together we are creating jobs and building a bright future for the citizens of the Port, community and region.”

The growth in freight activity was seen in the Port of Hueneme’s niche markets of automobiles, high and heavy cargo, fresh produce, fertilizer, and domestic commodities (fish and petroleum products). Automobile imports shot up 12.2% over last fiscal year while exports held steady at a 1.2% growth. A portion of this increase is attributed to additional imports from Hyundai and Kia. A large fraction of the export increase was driven by more foreign manufacturers (Honda and Toyota) operating from new facilities within the United States and sending their autos to the Asian market. The one millionth U.S. manufactured Honda was exported through the Port last December.

BMW realized a significant jump in the automobile trade recording a robust 35% increase in imports. According to Al Cardona, National VDC Manager at BMW, “BMW’s overall processing volume through the Oxnard Vehicle Distribution Center has increased over the same period last year and the same trend is expected to continue for the remainder of the year.”

According to Michael Wynn, Global Auto Processing Services (GAPS), Senior Executive Vice President, “Our export volumes to China were down marginally, however with the new Honda export business to South Korea and the new Cadillac ATS going to China the second half of this year promises to see export volumes grow. In the meantime, our import volumes continue to rise and overall levels continue to head in the right direction. With the demand for Hyundai and Kia automobiles constant, the majority of import vehicles are allocated at sea and dwell time at the port continues to decline.”

Agricultural and construction equipment added to last year’s strong growth in both imports and exports with 6.8% gains in Imports and 6.4% in Exports this year. Companies in this business include John Deere, New Holland, Case International, Hyster, Caterpillar and Volvo. Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) handles the bulk of this cargo as well as the transport and processing of automobiles. WWL volumes accelerated in the first six months of 2013 as compared to the same period in 2012 with total volume, as well as imports and exports, experiencing strong growth.
WWL continues to lead the rebound in the import market and expects the export market to continue to grow in the future. The increased work load has enabled WWL to keep employees working more hours and continues to contribute to job growth.

On the fruit side of the Port’s business portfolio banana imports grew 5.7% from 615,588 metric tons to 650,608 metric tons. Other fresh fruits and vegetables handled by the Port doubled to over 12,000 metric tons. According to Del Monte’s Port manager Chuck Caulkins, “Throughout the downturn Del Monte continued to perform strongly for the Port and with the uptick in the economy we remain hopeful that the business climate in California will recognize the importance of international trade for job creation and economic development.”

Liquid fertilizer imports grew last year by 28.9% setting a short lived, all-time record. This year saw an additional 24% growth accounting for 167,253 metric tons of product (a new best year on record), indicating a growing demand by the region’s agricultural industry. Yara North America Inc, manages this trade at the Port. Additionally Yara's growth of Air1 Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) through the Port and across North America has been instrumental in Yara’s growth. The Air1 Diesel Exhaust Fluid is a high purity solution of urea in water (32.5%), used to chemically reduce Nox emissions from trucks, buses and other units powered by diesel engines. Yara is the world's largest producer and supplier of this product and the Port of Hueneme is a key supply point for the company’s western United States customer base.

Shallow draft cargo (fish, lube oil, and vessel fuel) increased 6.6% for the year. Offshore domestic oil trade saw a modest 1.1% decrease.

Port Director Kristin Decas remarks on core reasons for growth, “This year’s cargo performance sets a significant new milestone for the Port, a record driven by our customers and business development teams. We commit to continued partnerships and strategic planning to maximize the social and economic benefit the Port brings to our community and industries served.”

The products and services herein described in this press release are not endorsed by The Maritime Executive.