PortMiami handled 113,835 teu in January 2021, a 21% increase from the 94,064 teu handled in the same period last year, as furniture imports rose and business with China, Vietnam, Turkey and Italy boomed.
Data from PIERS showed that furniture imports were the top imported commodity in January 2021, a large jump from the 24th spot in January 2020.
Eric Olafson, director of global trade and business development at PortMiami, explained that it “looks like many folks are remodelling and updating their homes during the pandemic with marble and furniture top commodities”.
Furniture imports mainly came from China (1,138 teu), Vietnam (771 teu), Italy (357 teu) and Honduras (259 teu) while Marble imports, which rose from seventh to second, mainly came from Turkey (892 teu), China (31 teu) and Italy (also 31 teu).
Cigars also saw a boost during this period as the third highest import, up from 52, with the Dominican Republic importing 756 teu, Nicaragua with 71 teu and Honduras with 27 teu.
Melons remained in the fourth spot, mainly coming from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras, while vegetable imports rose to the top five from 21.
Overall, the port’s top five commodities accounted for an increase of 170%, or a gain of 4,603 teu.
“We believe the surge may continue when the next set of stimulus checks are sent in the mail, Olafson added.
The port has spent more than US$1bn on improvements that offer shippers a deep water gateway that can handle big ships such as the Deep Dredge project and the acquisition of zero emissions electrified super post-Panamax cranes.
Additionally, PortMiami added a rail link to the national rail system and a port tunnel with direct freeway access to and from the port.
PortMiami environmental resiliency committee chairwoman Rebeca Sosa, said: “January’s cargo performance is a reflection of the resilience of our community and the role played by our seaport.
“I want to thank PortMiami’s stakeholders, from terminal operators, ILA members, to our truckers for keeping a steady flow of essential cargo moving from ship to shelf during this COVID crisis – whether its pharmaceuticals, food or other goods critical to our community.”
The port’s top 10 countries for imports changed slightly – while China, Honduras, Peru and Ecuador kept the same rank Dominican Republic moved up from fifth to fourth, Vietnam took fifth from seventh and Turkey jumped two places to sixth.
Guatemala dropped from fourth to seventh and Spain dropped from sixth to eight.
Mayor Daniella Levina Cava said: “I am so proud that despite the challenges of a worldwide pandemic, PortMiami is setting a record for the strongest cargo activity in its history.
“Miami-Dade County is a major global hub for trade and commerce, and cargo continues to create jobs and expand opportunities across our community. As we look to rebuild an even stronger, more resilient economy, the seaport is critical to our long-term sustainable growth and prosperity.”