Amidst a nationwide softening of imports, Port Houston says it saw “significant demand” in loaded export containers in March, recording a 10% increase over March of last year and the highest monthly volume for that category in its history, the port said today.
Loaded export volumes at Port Houston reached 349,964 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) year-to-date, an increase of 26% in the first quarter of this year compared to last. Empty import volumes also increased by 111% for the month compared to March 2022, as carriers reposition containers to Houston to meet the high demand for resin and petrochemical exports.
Like the rest of the country, the Texas facility saw conditions soften in recent weeks, notching a 3% decline in total TEUs in March. But port leaders said that container volumes through Port Houston are on track to hit 1 million TEUs earlier in the year than ever before. In Q1 2023, Port Houston handled 934,031 TEUs, or an increase of 3% compared to last year.
“We continue to see the softening of import demand across the U.S. and in Houston as well, where loaded import container TEUs at Port Houston’s terminals were down 12% in March. However, total throughput is offset by the strong export market we have in Houston and our ability to provide both export and import customers excellent customer service, skilled labor, and an efficient gateway,” Roger Guenther, executive director at Port Houston, said in a release.