Container volumes at Port Houston have skyrocketed in the first quarter of 2024. From January to March, Port Houston handled 1,069,917 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) year-to-date, an increase of 15% compared to the same period last year. In March alone, container volumes at Port Houston totaled 360,991 TEUs, an increase of 20% compared to March 2023. In fact, it was Port Houston’s biggest March ever.

Consumer spending on items like furniture and appliances contributed to loaded import volumes that were up 23% this March compared to the same month last year and 14% year-to-date. Loaded export volumes, which are primarily resins, have also increased by 12% in March and 15% for the year, totaling 404,124 TEUs year-to-date.

“The improvements we continue to make at our facilities, combined with a committed workforce, have allowed us to efficiently handle the double-digit growth in both imports and exports during the first quarter,” said Roger Guenther, Executive Director at Port Houston. “Our customers can count on us to continue to invest in the infrastructure and people we need to move their cargo quickly through our terminals as demand increases.”

The M/V Happy Diamond recently delivered six hybrid-electric rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes to Bayport Container Terminal, one of several RTG deliveries that will make their way to Port Houston terminals this year. Compared to diesel models, these RTG cranes are more environmentally friendly, reducing NOx, PM, HC, and CO by 90%.

“The steady addition of hybrid-electric cranes to the fleet at Port Houston’s terminals reflects our commitment to continue to invest in landside infrastructure as well as our goal to reach carbon neutrality by the year 2050,” said Guenther.

In addition to RTGs, three new STS cranes are expected to be delivered to Port Houston this summer bringing this year’s total to 32 STS cranes and 147 RTGs across both facilities. Furthermore, the Port's Barbours Cut Container Terminal container yards 4 North and 5 North have recently undergone improvements, including the placement of strengthened concrete surfaces that will increase longevity. This project also added truck bypass lanes, enhancing safety within the terminals and increasing cargo handling efficiency.

Steel volumes at Port Houston’s multipurpose facilities decreased by 10% in March compared to the same month last year and are down 20% through the end of the first quarter of this year. Lumber, however, was up 16% in March and 18% year-to-date. Total tonnage across all of Port Houston’s terminals is up 4% through March, totaling 13,422,452 tons year-to-date.