Tonnage Slips at Port Houston Amid Pandemic
Monthly cargo volumes at Port Houston declined in April as the coronavirus outbreak continued to impact commerce in the U.S. and across the world.
Port Houston, the 6th largest container port in the U.S., handled a total of 221,540 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in April, down 12% from the 252,693 TEUs in April 2019. For the full year, however, Port Houston handled 994,627 TEUs through April, which is 5% more than the first four months of 2019.
Total tonnage at Port Houston’s public facilities was down 10% in the month of April at 3,766,756 short tons, a decrease of 3% year-to-date. Port Houston handled 3,910 auto units in April, 41% less than the same month last year, and down 31% for the first four months as compared to the same period in 2019. Steel, primarily used in the energy industry, is down 50% year-to-date at 784,733 short tons through the end of April, a reflection of today’s turmoil in the oil and gas sector.
“Port Houston’s public terminals are vitally important to the economy at the local, state and national levels,” Executive Director Roger Guenther said. “We’ve had 26 announced blank sailings this year including seven for the month of June. It’s yet to be seen what July will look like but hopefully we’ll see some improvement into the summer.”
“During this trying period, Port Houston has remained open for business to help international commerce continue to flow to provide for our communities,” Guenther said. “Looking forward, landside and waterside expansion projects have continued uninterrupted. We must ensure that the necessary infrastructure and capacity is in place to help the economy bounce back once this global pandemic has been controlled.”