Setting Cargo Records At Port Hueneme
In a year that included west coast congestion issues, Port Hueneme is reporting its highest cargo year in its 78 year history. Overall auto traffic at the niche port increased by 10.6 percent to more than 321,000 autos. Total tonnage for fiscal year 2014-2015 came in at a strong 1.6 million tons representing a 9.5-percent increase from the port’s previous high in 2013.
Strong freight activity growth was seen in the port’s other markets of high and heavy cargo, fresh produce, fertilizer, and domestic commodities. Automobile imports, which account for 60 percent of the port’s revenue, boasted a 14.6-percent increase. The auto import increase was attributable to foreign manufacturers redirecting autos to Hueneme for temporary handling, according to Jess Herrera, president of the port commission.
The strong dollar adversely impacted auto exports, however. Auto exports, which reflect two percent of the port’s revenue, dropped by 26.6 percent.
“The record cargo throughput in our port is not an accident,” said Herrera, “but a reflection of the expertise that our facility brings to the maritime industry on every level. Making the most of our limited area, our dedicated staff, longshoremen and stevedores, continue to demonstrate our ability to move cargo efficiently, safely, and in the most cost-efficient manner possible.”
Drilling down into the figures, BMW showed the highest growth rate among auto importers at Hueneme, at 14.4 percent, followed by Hyundai/Kia.
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics is the leading carrier at the port, handling agricultural and heavy equipment cargo, and providing automobile processing. “While shipping volumes for cargo in the heavy equipment segment have remained relatively flat, vehicle activity in 2015 has surged upwards of 40 percent,” said Len Mazzella, regional head of port operations at Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics.
The port’s banana imports remained strong at over 655,000 tons. Total fresh fruits and vegetables handled by port customers grew by five percent. Citrus exports to Japan and Korea also make a strong showing.
“This year’s cargo performance sets a new milestone for the port,” said port director Kristin Decas.