Ports Houston’s container throughput has stabilised for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 4% drop in figures in August.
The Gulf coast hub handled 248,630 teu, representing the first single-digit decline since the start of the pandemic. Decreases in volumes ranged between 10%-16% between March and July.
Port Houston executive director Roger Guenther said: “We are hopeful for a strong rebound in the fourth quarter, and that this is the beginning of continued growth in our container teu.
“Import containers have been strong and we’ve seen a large number of extra loaders this peak season as retailers in our region replenish inventories, and those extra loaders have helped balance the impact of blank sailings.”
According to Guenther, the port’s fundamentals remain solid since there has been strong activity in construction and expansion of e-commerce distribution centres, which support imports, as well as resin packaging capacity to support exports.
During the summer, Frontier Logistics completed a 500,00 sq ft rail-served warehouse adjacent to Barbours Cut Container terminal, boosting the hub’s regional manufacturing base.
Total tonnage at Port Houston in August was down 7%, with steel, breakbulk cargo and autos all down compared to August 2019, although grain and bulk cargo again showed increases, as they did in previous months.
Over the first half of 2020, throughput was down 2.3% at the port, constituting the smallest decline of the top 10 container ports in the US.