Tonnage Slips at Port Houston Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Operational activity at the Bayport Container Terminal (Image Courtesy: Port Houston)

Container Volume Up Year-to-Date

Monthly volume at Port Houston, the 6 th largest container port in the United States, showed a decline in April as the coronavirus outbreak continued to impact commerce in the U.S. and across the world.

Port Houston handled a total of 221,540 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in April, a decrease of 12 percent compared to April of 2019, when a total of 252,693 TEUs were handled. For the full year, however, Port Houston handled 994,627 TEUs through April, which is 5 percent more than the first four months of 2019.

Total tonnage at Port Houston’s public facilities was down 10 percent in the month of April at 3,766,756 short tons, a decrease of 3 percent year-to-date. Port Houston handled 3,910 auto units in April, 41 percent less than the same month last year, and down 31 percent for the first four months as compared to the same period in 2019. Steel, primarily used in the energy industry, is down 50 percent 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. Cargo moving across those docks serve Houston, the State of Texas and the surrounding region. Houston is home to the country’s No. 1 export metroplex; the State of Texas is the nation’s top state in exports. “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,” Guenther

“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.”

Port Houston thanks the men and women working on all the private and public docks, driving trucks in and out of the port, and our other maritime transportation workers, who all support the port’s daily functions.

The Port of Houston supports the creation of nearly 1.35 million jobs in Texas and 3.2 million jobs nationwide, and economic activity totaling $339 billion in Texas – 20.6 percent of Texas’ total gross domestic product (GDP) – and total of $801.9 billion in economic impact across the nation.

Sea News, May 15

Baibhav Mishra
Author: Baibhav Mishra

Associate Editor, Sea News