Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hueneme Port Sets Annual Cargo Record

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Hueneme, a deepwater harbor in Ventura County, California, has set a record for annual cargo traffic, according to port data.

For the fiscal year that ended June 30, cargo traffic was up 9.5 percent year-over-year at 1.57 million metric tons, according to the data, with auto exports and produce imports being among the more in-demand commodities.

Part of the reason for the increase, according to the port, is the diversion of cargo to Hueneme from other Southern California ports, particularly those in Long Beach and Los Angeles, which suffered slight business losses during months of congestion that coincided with then-ongoing talks between organized labor and management on a new contract.

“Smaller niche ports tend to survive these situations better than the larger ports,” Hueneme CEO Kristin Decas said of the congestion problems in February. “The way I look at it is we’re helping industry because they can’t get into the bigger ports.”

The Port of Hueneme says it managed to increase business during the first quarter of the year because of the labor dispute and attracted more ships than normal by offering up space for the storage and processing of perishable commodities, particularly bananas.

The port handled a total of 655,643 metric tons of bananas in the past 12 months, according to data. The amount of produce traversing the port’s docks was up five percent compared to the previous fiscal year, data shows.