Executive Director Roger Guenther believes Port Houston has turned a corner.
“We had nine blank sailings in the month of May,” Guenther said. “But the worst should be behind us. We are aware of seven blank — or canceled — sailings to Houston in June and only three for the month of July.”
Container volume at Port Houston was down 16% year-over-year in May as the coronavirus pandemic continued to negatively impact imports and exports.
Port Houston handled 222,250 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in May, down from 263,061 moved last year. Between Jan. 1 and May 31, Houston handled a total of 1,216,877 TEUs, up 1% from the 1,209,921 TEUs during the same period last year.
Total tonnage for May was down 14%, with steel, breakbulk, bulk and grain all down compared to the same month in 2019. The port said the drop “is not surprising given the impact the global pandemic has had on the maritime sector and national economies around the world.”
Guenther said Port Houston is helping with America’s recovery from COVID-19.
“The state of Texas is leading the country in getting the world’s 10th-largest economy kick-started and Port Houston continues to develop the necessary infrastructure to meet or exceed our customers’ needs. In April the U.S. Army Corps signed off on the Houston Ship Channel Expansion Project 11 and signs point to congressional approval this year. With that, the Houston Ship Channel will be wider and safer to support American commerce through the Greater Port of Houston,” Guenther said.
Meanwhile, strict safety protocols to avoid the spread of COVID-19 remain in place at Port Houston facilities. Port officials were applauded for their quick actions and temporarily closing two terminals after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus in March.
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