NAWILIWILI — A lack of a strong economic driver in each Hawaiian island contributed to flat volume growth in cargo through November, according to Young Brothers, Limited.
“As has been the case for about two years, Neighbor Island cargo volumes in 2016 continue to move sideways,” said Roy Catalani, vice president of Young Brothers.
Catalani said the trend should continue through year’s end.
Intrastate cargo shipments between Honolulu and six Neighbor Island port, including one on Kauai in Nawiliwili, declined by 0.6 percent in the third quarter, following percentage increases of about the same amount in each of the first two quarters of this year, according to the report.
Two ports saw increased construction-related volumes. Inbound cargo volume increased at Kawaihae and Hilo due, in large part, to increased shipments by major construction material providers in support of projects on the Big Island including a federal highway project.
Automobile shipments have been down for the entire year, primarily due to reduced volume from rental car agencies. Shipments of recyclable materials continued to be weak, following the trend of the past several quarters due to the bearish scrap metal market in 2015.
Overall volume for the first nine months of 2016 barely remained in positive territory, increasing 0.2 percent compared to the same period last year.
Cargo volume declined at five Neighbor Island ports in the first nine months of the year, while Hilo was the only port to experience an increase at 3.5 percent. Kauai and Kahului’s volume dropped around 1 percent, while the rest hovered around a 3 percent decrease each.
In the third quarter, intrastate shipments of locally grown agricultural products declined by 4.4 percent from last year. For the first nine months of the year, agricultural volumes are down 6.7 percent.
Most ports with agricultural exports experienced declines for the third quarter. Shipments from Kauai was down 5.2 percent, while others decreased around 5 percent to 6 percent.
Kahului was the only port to experience an increase at 26.8 percent — a significant improvement from the 1.8 percent increase last quarter. Exports of sugar from Maui contributed to this rise in the third quarter, in what is expected to be the last year of large-scale sugar production on the island.
During the first nine months of the year, two ports experienced increases in agricultural volume: Kahului, up 9.0 percent and Kaunakakai, up 0.5 percent. Agricultural volume fell at four ports.