Houston reports record-breaking cargo volumes in July

Port Houston achieved record-breaking results in July from shipments of auto imports, while Corpus Christi, Texas, and New Orleans saw increases in crude oil and containers, respectively.

Port Houston sees monthly gains in autos, resin shipments 

Port Houston hit a record for monthly container volumes, handling 344,163 twenty-foot equivalent units in July. The monthly total was a 5% year-over-year (y/y) increase compared to the same period last year.

Year to date, the port handled 2.2 million TEUs at its two terminals, only 1% less than the first seven months of 2022, when Houston posted a record 2.22 million TEUs.

The increase in cargo volumes was attributed to increasing imports of automobiles from overseas and exports of resins, according to a news release.

“In July, loaded container exports were up 15% y/y at 117,652 TEUs. Year-to-date loaded export volumes are up 12% compared to 2022, mainly due to the strong demand for resins,” port officials said in the news release. “Auto import units have increased by 56% year-to-date compared to the same time period last year.”

Total import containers increased 5% y/y in July to 177,029 TEUs, while loaded imports increased 4% to 166,151 TEUs.

General export tonnage was up 79% y/y at 1.85 million tons, while total exports increased 43% y/y to 3.5 million tons.

Loaded export containers increased 15% y/y to 117,652 TEUs, while total export containers rose 4% y/y to 167,134 TEUs.

While loaded export and import containers were up year over year, general import tonnage plunged 103% y/y in July to a negative balance of 23,589 tons. Total import tonnage decreased 28% y/y in July to 2 million tons.

Imports of steel fell 11% y/y to 419,667 tons during July and is down about 10% year to date compared to 2022 at 2.9 million tons.

Port Houston recorded 693 ship calls in July, a 5% y/y decline, while barge calls totaled 285, the same total as last year.

Crude oil exports rise in July at Port of Corpus Christi 

The Port of Corpus Christi recorded a 3% y/y increase in crude oil shipments during July, handling 10.3 million tons compared to 9.9 million tons in 2022.

Exports of crude oil totaled 9.6 million tons in July, an 8% y/y increase compared to the same year-ago period.

Petroleum shipments increased 0.2% y/y in July to 5.35 million tons, with exports totaling 4.2 million tons during the month.

Dry bulk cargo fell 19% y/y to 682,638 tons, while chemical bulk shipments rose 37% y/y to 281,822 tons.

Corpus Christi’s bulk grain shipment exports increased 80% y/y in July to 291,482 tons. The port did not handle any grain imports during the month.

The port had 506 barge calls in July, an 11% y/y increase. Ship calls during the month totaled 197 vessels, compared to 206 ship calls in July 2022.

Port of New Orleans moves 44,843 TEUs in July

The Port of New Orleans’ container volume totaled 44,843 TEUs in July, while breakbulk tonnage was 73,005.

The port did not provide y/y monthly data, but container traffic increased 2% compared to June 2023; breakbulk cargo fell 30% compared to last month.

“We are seeing an overall recovery in containerized cargo, both as an increase in exports, and as imports that had spilled over to breakbulk due to supply chain disruptions last year,” Kimberly Curth, port spokeswoman, told FreightWaves. “That is why we are seeing a reduction in breakbulk cargo (as expected).”

Top breakbulk cargo during July included steel and rubber, while containerized cargo included exports of plastic resins, miscellaneous chemicals, and imports of coffee and organic chemicals.

The port handled 8,983 Class I rail car switches in July, a 3% decline from June. The port handles switching operations for six Class I railroads: BNSF, CN, CSX, CPKC, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific.

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