Interisland shipping company Young Brothers, Ltd. reported a nominal increase in cargo volume to the neighbor islands last year, but steadily rising amounts of agricultural products.
The company on Thursday released its end-of-the-year report for 2012. The volume of agricultural products moved across the state was up 11.6 percent over 2011. That included a 13.7 percent increase from the last quarter of 2011 to the last quarter of 2012.
“The renewed interest in buying local, good health, it’s all anecdotal, but those might be drivers” for the increased volume, said Roy Catalani, vice president of strategic planning and government relations.
He said he hadn’t studied why the overall rates remained so flat last year, despite reports of a growing economy.
“Our cargo to the neighbor islands is just one indicator of neighbor island economic activity,” he said, adding the cargo volumes don’t represent Oahu’s activity.
Cargo volumes increase 2 percent in the last quarter compared to the same three-month period in 2011, but the company saw only a 0.4 percent increase from 2011 to 2012. Cargo volume rates were up 2.6 percent in the first quarter, dropped 2.7 percent in the second quarter and 1.1 percent in the third quarter before making the fourth-quarter recovery.
“I’m not sure what’s driving it,” Catalani said. “We’re glad we haven’t lost any ground.”
Hawaii Island’s two ports, Kawaihae and Hilo, both recorded slight decreases in volume for the year, down 0.9 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.
Young Brothers offers a discount for agricultural products of 30 to 35 percent.