Cargo volumes flat but ag still strong

LIHUE — Intra-state cargo volumes between Honolulu and six neighbor island ports were flat in 2014, increasing by just 0.5 percent against the previous year.

According to the Young Brothers, Limited announcement on Monday, Kauai saw a 1.8 percent decline in annual cargo volume for the year, but was one of just two ports that saw a fourth quarter increase with 3.7 percent. Agricultural shipments increase 5.2 percent for the year.

For the year ending Dec. 31, five ports increased agricultural exports with Honolulu up 2.4 percent, Hilo up 4 percent; Kawaihae up 40.9 percent, Kauai up 19.8 percent, and Molokai up 6.5 percent. Only Maui experienced a decline in agricultural exports, dropping by 11.1 percent.

Fourth quarter 2014 agricultural cargo exports increased 9.9 percent at Honolulu, 35.4 percent at Kawaihae, 43.3 percent at Kauai; and 3.5 percent at Molokai. Agricultural exports declined 12.5 percent at Maui, and 11 percent at Hilo.

Agricultural volume includes cargo that qualifies for the locally grown product discount of 30 to 35 percent.

“All but one of the ports that export agricultural products had cargo volume gains in 2014,” said Young Brothers Vice President Roy Catalani. “There was a slowdown in the fourth quarter, likely driven by the severe weather activity – particularly on the Big Island – during those months. Nevertheless, overall, agriculture remains a strong category.”

In first quarter of 2014, Young Brothers had a 4 percent overall increase in cargo volume, and a 0.3 percent increase in the second quarter. The third quarter dropped 2.1-percent drop in volume, and continued to drop 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

Three neighbor island ports experienced an increase in cargo shipments. Hilo was up 3.3 percent; Kawaihae was up 0.5 percent, and Lanai was up 28.6 percent. Maui was down 1.8 percent; Kauai dropped 1.8 percent, and Molokai dropped by 5.3 percent.

Fourth quarter 2014 volume increased 4.0 percent at Kawaihae, and 3.7 percent at Nawililwili. Cargo shipments fell 4.6 percent for the quarter in Maui, dropped 0.7 percent in Hilo, dropped 7.6 percent in Molokai, and also 1.4 percent in Lanai.

Cargo volume by industry groups varied in 2014. Autos and renewable energy experienced solid gains, while construction industry cargo was relatively flat, with a decline in food and beverage, and recycling.

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