February volumes at Port Houston remained solid compared to last year, though an expected softening of demand is beginning to be seen in Houston. A total of 313,452 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), or a 15% increase compared to the same month last year were handled during the month. Year-to-date volumes are up 6% to 633,442 TEUs.

Though Port Houston experienced growth throughout the first two months of 2023, recently its terminals are beginning to see some softening in import demand consistent with the national trend. Sources indicate that high inventory levels and a general decrease in consumer demand are the main factors in this decline, and a general downward trend will likely continue over the next several months which was anticipated and included in the 2023 forecast budget. Export volumes in Houston remain strong, up 42% this month, driven by the strength of plastic resins and other petrochemical commodities produced in our region and delivered globally through Port Houston.

Barbours Cut Container Terminal, Port Houston

“Whether a time of volume surge or decline, at Port Houston we continue to focus on providing excellent customer service, fluidity, and reliability to the growing number of shippers that choose Port Houston. Since the beginning of this year, vessel queues have disappeared and turn times are quick and fluid for our trucking community,” said Roger Guenther, Executive Director at Port Houston. “We also continue to press forward with accelerated investments, both landside and waterside, as we prepare for future growth.”

At Port Houston’s breakbulk facilities, general cargo declined 25% year-to-date, and steel imports declined by 8% year-to-date. Total tonnage through Port Houston is up 7% year to date.