Ports & Terminals

Port Of Houston Sets Container, Tonnage Records In 2022

The Port of Houston (Port Houston) set a pair of new records in 2022 and saw individual cargo statistics surge to heights, in some cases, not seen in years.

Container volume reached a new record for Houston, which operates container terminals at Bayport and Barbours Cut. Overall containers handled at Port Houston’s terminals rose 14 percent compared to 2021, to reach 3,974,901 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) for the year. The port noted that’s close to a half million more TEUs handled in 2022 compared to 2021 and close to double the amount handled in 2016.

Total tonnage for 2022 was also up sharply—22 percent higher compared to 2021—with more than 55 million short tons handled last year.

“The volumes we’ve experienced this year at Port Houston have been incredible, and we never wavered in our commitment to do our part to efficiently move cargo through our terminals,” Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther said. “The record growth seen over the last couple of years has been supported by continued investments in Port Houston terminals, as well as the immense dedication of the Port Houston staff and ILA labor, who are committed to moving our region’s cargo. As we always have, as we head into 2023, we will continue to stay in front of the curve to provide exceptional service.”

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Houston’s two container terminals saw monthly double-digit growth from January through November last year, compared to 2021 statistics. December 2022, though, saw a 12 percent decrease compared to December 2021. Loaded container imports that month fell 16 percent, compared to December 2021, while exports actually grew by 7 percent.

Port Houston saw impressive growth in steel imports in 2022. At more than 5 million short tons of steel handled for the year, 2022 was Port Houston’s highest year for steel in more than five years. Steel imports were up 25 percent in December 2022, and 49 percent for the entire year. The port saw individual cargo growth in line pipe, standard pipe, oil country goods, heavy structural shapes and wire rods.

Automotive imports were up 7 percent for the year, although that business line, like most others, dipped in December. Auto imports fell 29 percent in December 2022. Bagged goods were up a whopping 50 percent compared to 2021.

Already in 2023, Port Houston has set at least one new container record. The port’s Bayport and Barbours Cut container terminals saw 15,275 completed gate transactions on January 17, which is a new single-day record.