Business, Feature, Freight News, Sea

Port Houston Ends 2023 on High Note

[ February 2, 2024   //   ]

Despite a strong December, container volumes handled at Port Houston in 2023 fell 4 percent to 3.8 million TEUs, short of the port’s record-setting year in 2022.
The decrease was attributed to a large drop in empty repositioning volumes, the port said, while its strong exports “insulated” it from further decreases.
Executive Director Roger Guenther characterized 2023 as a “remarkable year” and was pleased the port’s strong finish.
“As we begin 2024 our eye is on making continued strategic investments to facilitate larger vessels and more of the region’s cargo, Guenther said.
He also looked ahead to increased investments to handle larger vessels and more of the region’s cargo. That involves adding landside capacity to the two container terminals. The port is also “making good progress” on the Houston Ship Channel Expansion, or Project 11.
Expansion of the ship channel to Bayport Container Terminal is expected to be completed later this year, with the portion to Barbours Cut Container Terminal to follow in 2026.
In December, the port added seven new hybrid-electric rubber tire gantry cranes to its existing fleet of 116 RTGs at its container terminals. An additional 19 RTGs and three ship-to-shore cranes are to be added in 2024.
The equipment helps serve the more than 20 weekly services that call the port, including a new weekly service, ZIM Gulf Toucan, to call Barbours Cut Container Terminal, starting in late January.
Port Houston’s December container volumes increased 11 percent compared to the year earlier, led by a record month for loaded exports of 119,970 TEUs, while loaded imports totaled 150,648 TEUs, both also up 11 percent.
Port Houston’s multipurpose facilities in 2023 recorded a 23 percent decline in general cargo, and 14 percent in steel volumes, compared to 2024. The port said steel cargo is expected to remain stable in 2024 due to ongoing infrastructure and energy investments.
Auto imports increased 59 percent remained steady for most of the year, compared to the year earlier.
Total tonnage at all terminals slipped 4 percent in 2023, to 50.3 million tons.

Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther characterized 2023 as a “remarkable year.” (PHOTO Port Houston