While most ports around the state saw an increase in intrastate shipments via Young Brothers for the first quarter of 2012, Kaunakakai noticed a significant decrease.
So far this year, Molokai’s only port had a drop of 9.5 percent in its cargo volume over 2011, the biggest decline of any port in Hawaii, according to the Young Brothers Quarterly Shipping Report. For this year, first quarter cargo volume for Kaunakakai was 1,360.3 CPE compared to 1,502.3 CPE for 2011. CPE measures Container/Platform Equivalents for YB.
Young Brothers stated in a news release that the decrease for Kaunakakai was largely driven by a 30.9 percent decline in outbound cargo, combined with 3.5 percent decline in inbound cargo.
Of the six neighbor island ports, Nawiliwili, Kauai was the only other location besides Kaunakakai that showed a decrease in overall cargo volume (down 2.5%). This was also largely driven by a decline in outbound cargo (11.9%), combined with a very slight decline in inbound cargo (down 0.2%).
The ports of Kaumalapau on Lanai, Kahului on Maui, Kawaihae on Hawaii and Hilo on Hawaii all saw increases over 2011. For the January to March 2012 period, intrastate volumes overall were up 2.6 percent compared to the year-ago quarter.
While increases generally indicate an economic improvement for the neighbor islands, Young Brothers cautions against drawing conclusions from these numbers.
“The first quarter volume gain is modest, so it is still a little early to tell whether neighbor island economies collectively have begun to climb out of the bottom of the recession,” said Glenn Hong, president of Young Brothers, in a written statement.
“Although residents and businesses in Hawaii continue to manage through a difficult economic environment, given what’s transpired in the past few years, it’s encouraging to see even a modest increase in neighbor island economic activity and the associated intrastate cargo volumes,” the statement continued. “Of course, intrastate cargo volume is only one barometer of neighbor island economies.”