Cargo Volumes Normalize, Industrial Spaces Vacant

Explore the state of U.S. port volumes and the rise of industrial vacancy rates in 2Q 2023.

Cargo Volumes Normalize, Industrial Spaces Vacant
Port of Houston. Source: Port of Houston/X

Port Houston Cargo Volumes Drop 20% YoY in August

Cargo volumes at Port Houston saw a significant 20% year-over-year decline in August, hitting 307,624 TEUs, marking the highest drop of the year. Last year's August recorded a record-breaking 382,842 TEUs.

Despite the decrease, the port remains stable, with ongoing investments in infrastructure. Port Houston's chairman, Ric Campo, emphasized the commitment to both waterside and landside improvements. July had been the busiest month in 2023, handling 344,163 TEUs, while May marked the lowest point at 300,482 TEUs.

Container Volumes Across the U.S.

Port of Los Angeles Thrives:

  • Enjoyed a 2.8% YoY increase.
  • Renewed shipper confidence and a new labor deal fueled growth.
  • "No better choice for cargo," says Executive Director Gene Seroka.

Port of Long Beach Struggles:

  • Recorded a 15.4% YoY decline.
  • Warehouses overstocked, consumers favoring travel.
  • Investing in infrastructure for long-term competitiveness.

Port of Oakland's Economic Impact:

  • Economic value soared by 24% to $174 billion.
  • Generates 98,345 local jobs.
  • Container volumes dipped 15.1% YoY in August.

Industrial Vacancy Rates Rise

CBRE's 2Q 2023 Port Watch report reveals a 3.5% rise in seaport market vacancies and a 4.6% increase in inland port markets. However, seaports like Charleston, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Portland maintain low vacancy rates. Inland port markets saw the highest net absorption at 60.4 million SF, followed by non-port markets at 59.6 million SF and seaport markets at 24.3 million SF. North American port container volumes decreased by 18.6% YoY, but Manzanilla, Mexico, and Lazaro Cardenas experienced growth due to nearshoring.

Sources: ALM Globest | Supply Chain Dive | Transport Topics

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