HONOLULU — Young Brothers announced that intrastate cargo shipments between Honolulu and six Neighbor Island ports were essentially flat, increasing slightly for the first quarter compared to the same period of 2015.
“The first quarter ended with only a modest increase in overall shipments,” said Roy Catalani, vice president of Young Brothers. “So far we aren’t seeing any strong trends emerge, and it’s possible that, consistent with our cargo volume projections for the year, this lukewarm first quarter will foreshadow the rest of this year.”
For the first three months of 2016, four Neighbor Island ports experienced gains in cargo volume: Hilo, up 3.8 percent; Kauai, up 1 percent; Molokai, up 0.4 percent; and Lanai, up 21.9 percent.
The agricultural sector continued to be challenged by dry weather conditions, making statewide shipments weak for the beginning of 2016. In the first quarter, intrastate shipments of locally grown agricultural products decreased by 8.8 percent compared to the same period last year, with declines at all ports with agricultural exports.
Volumes were down 10.5 percent on Kauai; 7 percent on Oahu; 1 percent on Maui; 14.5 percent in Hilo; 8.7 percent in Kawaihae; and 1.8 percent on Molokai.
The first quarter results are on par with the company’s projection, completed by economist Paul Brewbaker of TZ Economics, for a 0.4 percent volume increase in intrastate cargo volumes for all of 2016.
Brewbaker concluded that “recent economic conditions in Hawaii’s Neighbor Islands have not been as good as on Oahu. In contrast to the early-2000’s economic expansion when Neighbor Islands homebuilding was a dominant engine of Hawaii economic growth, the Neighbor Islands in the 20-teens are experiencing, and seem likely to continue to experience, relatively muted growth of aggregate output, income and jobs compared to Oahu or to national economic experience.”