The Port of Houston Authority has extended opening hours at its container terminals to allow truckers to deal with a 23.4% year-on-year rise in import traffic in November.
The port authority and US Customs and Border Protection have agreed to a six month evaluation period, which sees a one-hour extension at the Barbours Cut and Bayport terminals where in-gates and out-gates are now open till 6pm and 7pm respectively.
Data from the Journal of Commerce also showed container imports leapt by more than 30% in September versus the 2013 equivalent although year-on-year growth was only 2.2% in October.
The measures were first enforced in November to handle increasing volumes, which have partly been buoyed by ships diverting routes away from West Coast congestion.
In addition, Houston expects to complete the US$80m deepening of the Barbours Cut terminal to 45 ft depth this year, while another major dredging project on the channel leading to the Bayport terminal is scheduled to be finished next summer.
The two container terminals will receive new super post-Panamax cranes next year to handle larger vessels, which the port anticipates will arrive once the expanded Panama Canal opens in early 2016.