Agreement with USACE clears way for future growth
2021 continues to show strength as TEU volume at Port Houston surpassed 2020’s numbers again this month. This August Port Houston recorded its highest month ever for total TEUs at 320,086, an increase of 29% compared to last August. It also was its highest monthly loaded import TEUs on record, at 159,791 TEUs.
Year-to-date, Port Houston has surpassed the 2M TEU mark, with 2,225,500 TEUs compared to 1,911,176 TEUs in 2020, a 16% increase. New importers to the Houston area that have realigned their gateway strategy and distribution center networks, combined with increased consumer spending and retailers building up inventory to meet that demand is driving the record levels of TEUs.
This six-month streak of double-digit growth is particularly notable given the ongoing challenges in the supply chain. With holiday season shopping on the horizon, containerized cargo is expected to remain strong through what is shaping up to be an extended peak season through Barbours Cut and Bayport Container Terminals.
“At Port Houston we embrace our position as a centrally located port serving a large region of consumers. Providing efficient and predictable cargo movement through our port during an unprecedented surge in global imports continues to be a top priority for us,” said Roger Guenther, Executive Director at Port Houston. “We expect elevated levels in the supply chain to continue well into 2022 and will continue to explore opportunities including accelerating an already aggressive capital investment strategy for our terminals to stay in front of the demand.”
One major project that is underway is the Houston Ship Channel Expansion – Project 11, where the nation’s busiest channel will be widened and deepened under an accelerated timeline. On August 19 Port Houston and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers celebrated the signing of their joint project partnership agreement, a major milestone for the transformative project. The $1.1 billion project could be complete as soon as 2026, allowing for larger, neopanamax-sized container vessels to call Houston.
“Our port serves as the anchor for our Texas region,” said Guenther. “It is a critical step to provide a wider, deeper channel that maintains two-way vessel traffic to more safely and efficiently deliver everyday goods and petrochemical products to and from the region.”
Port Houston continues to meet with cargo owners, ocean carriers, trucking companies, stevedores, chassis providers, and ILA representatives to explore creative solutions to meet the collective and regional challenges to effectively serve the strong increase in volumes to the region. Port Houston continues to drive the conversation forward to address the challenges happening at most U.S. Ports.
General cargo at Port Houston was also up in August at 6% year-to-date compared to 2020 YTD, and up 22% for the month compared to August 2020. Steel imports jumped 159% in August compared to the same month last year, a positive sign of the strengthened energy sector. Bagged goods saw a 7% decrease, while auto imports increased 173% this August compared to the same month last year.