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Houston Container Activity down in September

As ships and containers continue to bottleneck at ports in the West Coast, September container activity in Houston has come down from the record levels seen a month earlier. The Port of Houston, a key import/export hub for resins, said container activity for twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) unit volume in September was at 281,500, down 12% from 320,086 in August. Although September TEUs came down, activity was up 11% compared to the same month last year, representing a seventh consecutive month for containers to show double-digit growth.

Year-to-date (YTD), Port Houston TEUs are up 16% compared to 2020, which it said has been driven largely by increased consumer spending. The Port added that growth seen this year reflects increased activity in the energy industry, as steel imports have increased 161% compared to September 2020 and 28% YTD. The Texas onshore and offshore rig count is also up 243 rigs from October 1, 2020, almost double where it was a year ago, fueling an increase in demand for Oil Country Tubular Goods (steel pipe) for drilling operations.

"We expect container as well as demand for steel to continue growing through the remainder of the fourth quarter and into next year," said

Roger Guenther, Executive Director at Port Houston said demand for containers is expected to continue growing through the remainder of Q4 and into 2022.

The Gulf Coast is not seeing the heavy supply chain disruptions being felt in the California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which recently expanded to 24/7 operations.

Port Houston has not announced any plans to move to 24/7 operations, but it is planning to expand capacity in the future. Earlier this week the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority awarded the first major dredge contract for the billion-dollar Houston Ship Channel Expansion

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, LLC was awarded up to $95.4 million to dredge 11.5-miles of the 52-mile channel, widening a major portion of the Galveston Bay reach from 530 to 700 ft.

By Brian Balboa for The Plastics Exchange.

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