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HOUSTON – Container activity at Port Houston, the largest container port on the United States Gulf Coast, began slowing in late March as expected as the coronavirus outbreak continued to threaten countries across the globe, including the U.S. 

Port Houston handled a total of 248,280 twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) in March, a drop of 11 percent compared to March of 2019, when 280,721 TEUs were recorded. For the full year, Port Houston handled 773,087 TEUs through March, compared to 694,167 TEUs for the same period last year. That is an increase of 11 percent for the first quarter.

The latest data from PIERS shows that while the U.S. container trade overall has contracted by more than 5 percent year-to-date, Port Houston has expanded by a similar amount. Nevertheless, in March Port Houston saw a total of seven blank sailings. 

Port Houston’s Bayport and Barbours Cut container terminals are important to the local, state and national economies as well as the supply chain, Executive Director Roger 

Guenther noted. Cargo moving across our docks reaches some 100 million residents as well as exporters and manufacturers throughout America’s heartland. 

“We must remain open for business to help international commerce continue during this difficult period,” Guenther said. “We also must support the economy with the necessary infrastructure to rebound when this global pandemic is brought under control.” 

Port Houston thanks the men and women working on all the private and public docks, driving trucks in and out of the port, and our other maritime transportation workers, who all support the port’s daily functions. Port Houston also thanks all other essential workers.