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Port Houston sets monthly cargo record in August

Port handles 320,086 twenty-foot equivalent units

Port Houston handled its highest month ever for total twenty-foot equivalent units at 320,086 in August, an increase of 29% compared to the same period last year.

The port also recorded the highest monthly loaded imports on record at 159,791 TEUs during August, a 37% increase compared to August 2020.

“We embrace our position as a centrally located port serving a large region of consumers,” Roger Guenther, Port Houston’s executive director, said in a statement. “Providing efficient and predictable cargo movement through our port during an unprecedented surge in global imports continues to be a top priority for us.”

Guenther said the increase in cargo volumes can be attributed to new importers in the area that have realigned their gateway strategy and distribution center networks, along with increased consumer spending and retailers building up inventory for the holiday season.

“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,” Guenther said.

Port Houston’s largest gains in tonnage during August came from a 666% year-over-year increase in exports of steel at 6,545 tons. Import tonnage of steel increased 159% to 340,531 tons.

General imports during August increased by 129% year-over-year to 929,111 tons, and container imports increased 16% to 1.3 million tons.

The port handled 8,642 TEUs in empty import containers during August, down 28% year-over-year and down 4% from July. Exports of empty containers jumped 208% in August from a year ago to 65,983 TEUs and declined 13% from July. 

Year-to-date, Port Houston has surpassed the 2 million-TEU mark, with 2.2 million TEUs compared to 1.91 million TEUs in 2020, a 16% year-over-year increase.

Vessel calls for August declined about 3% YoY to 636, and down 10% from July. Barges calling on Port Houston were up 4% YoY to 353, and increased 14% from July. 

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact