Ports & Terminals

COVID-19 Pushes Container, Cargo Stats Down At The Port Of Houston

After a record year for container handling in 2019, the Port of Houston has seen a marked drop in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) through the first half of 2020. For June alone, Port Houston handled 210,932 TEUs, a 16 percent drop compared to June 2019.

Container activity at the port for the first six months of the year stands at just over 1.4 million TEUs, down 2 percent compared to the same time frame last year.

Total tonnage, including steel, breakbulk and auto cargoes, was down 7 percent this June compared to a year ago. Port Houston’s grain and bulk cargo business lines, though, were up compared to June 2019.

Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther said the coronavirus pandemic impacts on the global economy remains hard to forecast.

Sign up for Waterway Journal's weekly newsletter.Our weekly newsletter delivers the latest inland marine news straight to your inbox including breaking news, our exclusive columns and much more.

“It is impossible to predict at this point how long these trends will continue,” Guenther said. “However, we continue to plan for the future. I am confident that our resilient economy, and the cargo exported and imported, will rebound quickly in our region when the pandemic begins to ease.”

Despite the slowdown, the port and the Corps of Engineers are pushing ahead with infrastructure projects along the Houston Ship Channel. In April, the Corps endorsed a portion of the Houston Ship Channel Expansion Project, and in June the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a nearly $80 million INFRA grand to restore and improve a portion of Port Houston’s Barbours Cut Container Terminal.