Container volume growth at Houston, while Oakland asks for vessels to return

Following the announcement earlier this week that the Port of Los Angeles / Long Beach network now had more than 100 vessels waiting to dock, Port Houston has recorded its seventh consecutive month of double-digit container volume growth.

Container activity for September 2021 was 281,500 teus, up by 11% compared to the same month last year. For the year-to-date, teus are up by 16% compared with 2020.

Port Houston said its steel imports were also up, up 161% this month compared to September 2020, and up by 28% for the year-to-date.

Texas onshore and offshore rig count is up 243 rigs from October 1st 2020, almost double compared to last year.

Roger Guenther, Executive Director at Port Houston, said that “we expect container as well as demand for steel to continue growing through the remainder of the fourth quarter and into next year”.

Meanwhile, officials at the Port of Oakland, northern California, has called on shipping lines to route more to the port. The port said that its marine terminals were congestion-free and was urging the restoration of shipping services that have bypassed Oakland since summer.

Port of Oakland maritime director Bryan Brandes said on Wednesday that “there’s no congestion at the Oakland seaport, and we’re ready for more business. We need ocean carriers to reinstate services in order to stabilize the supply chain, and our import and export partners echo this sentiment.”

The port said that containerized cargo volume was up by 4.2% in 2021 but insisted that there was capacity for more. The port said that it hadn’t experienced vessel backlogs since August.

Several ocean carriers had omitted Oakland in recent months, the port said. The port noted that the excessive Southern California delays had necessitated the immediate return of some ships to Asia, bypassing Oakland.

The port said that 54 vessels stopped in Oakland last month, the lowest vessel call total since 2015. As a result, September import volume declined 13% from September 2020, the Port said. Exports were down by 18% year on year.

The port said that it expected service restoration to begin in November.