Interisland cargo volume up


Interisland cargo volumes rose during the second quarter of this year at five of six ports that receive shipments from Honolulu.

Kawaihae Harbor was the lone exception, with a 1.9 percent decline compared to the same quarter last year, Young Brothers officials said in their quarterly report, issued Friday. The company releases the report as a snapshot of economic activity within the state.

Statewide, volumes rose 4.4 percent, officials said. The drop at Kawaihae may have reflected a shift in where distributors were sending goods more than an actual decrease in cargo arrivals to the island, Vice President, Strategic Planning and Government Relations Roy Catalani said.

“Cargo inbound to Kawaihae was down 3.3 percent, partially a result of certain distributors shifting a small portion of their cargo to the Hilo port in the second quarter (possibly based on logistical considerations in choosing sailing dates, with the Hilo and Kawaihae ports each receiving two barges per week), with small declines in a few other cargo types in Kawaihae,” Catalani said via email Friday afternoon. “Cargo outbound from Kawaihae was up slightly at 1.5 percent.”

Cargo volume arrivals were up 6.7 percent at Hilo Harbor for the second quarter, and up 0.5 percent for the first half of this year, compared with the first half of 2012.

Kawaihae recorded a 5.7 percent increase in outgoing agricultural goods, Catalani said, “with Waimea farmers showing good volumes, particularly in cabbage crops.”

But when Young Bros. looked at Kawaihae’s agricultural exports over the first half of this year, compared to the same time period last year, the port again experienced an overall 15.6 percent decline. Hilo Harbor saw a 5.8 percent increase in agricultural exports for the second quarter, bringing the increase in those exports up to 6.1 percent for the first six months of the year.

Across the neighbor islands, agricultural volumes were up 11.1 percent for the second quarter of the year and up 6.1 percent so far this year compared to last year.

Statewide during the first quarter of this year, cargo volumes dropped 3.9 percent. Young Bros. President Glenn Hong at the time attributed that drop to an ongoing volatility in the state market, with increases followed by slight dips in volume. He was pleased to see this quarter’s increase. This quarter’s increase essentially canceled last quarter’s decline, leaving about a 0.1 percent growth for the first have of this year compared to last year.

“We are optimistic for continuing signs of strength from important sectors of the economy, such as the construction industry,” Hong said.

About half of the growth this quarter was the result of higher automobile and other vehicle shipments, Hong said, noting rental fleet and auto dealership volumes were “particularly strong.” Construction materials and equipment, food and beverage and recyclables also drove the increase, he said.