All but one of the neighbor island ports served by Young Brothers Limited experienced an increase in shipping volume for the first nine months of 2013, according to the third quarter report from Hawaii’s only intrastate cargo service.
With the purchase of Lanai by Larry Ellison, Lanai experienced the greatest increase. Volume rose at the Kaumalapau port, the state’s smallest harbor, by 20.5 percent over last year. Statewide, volume increased 1.8 percent for the first three quarters compared to 2012.
The real surprise is what port had the second highest increase in the state: Kaunakakai. Volume increased here by 5.7 percent in the first nine months. This increase compares to 1.0 percent for Kahului (the state’s largest port), 1.7 percent for Hilo and 5.4 percent for Nawiliwili, Kauai. Kawaihae on the Big Island has seen a volume decrease of 3.4 percent for the year so far.
For the third quarter of 2013 (July through September) Young Brothers reports that cargo volume increased 5.2 percent statewide compared to last year. The second quarter saw a 4.4 percent rise in cargo.
“We believe this is another indicator that the broader local economy is continuing to gain strength, and we’re hopeful it’s the beginning of a trend that will sustain itself,” said Glenn Hong, president of Young Brothers. He also noted, “We still have some ground to make up to get back to levels seen six and seven years ago.” When compared to the peak-volume year of 2007, Young Brothers’ 2013 volume is still down approximately 20 percent.
Volume at Kaunakakai port for just the third quarter of 2013 rose 4.9 percent over last year. At Kaumalapau, volume increased 21.6 percent. At Kahului, volume rose 5.5 percent; Hilo climbed 4.2 percent; Kawaihae, up 6.0 percent and Nawiliwili up 5.3 percent.
Most industry segments finished the quarter with positive comparisons. Shipments of construction materials and renewable energy, namely biofuels, were up strongly, continuing the trend of the previous quarter. Other significant gainers included automobile rental fleets, beverages and the entertainment industry, which includes tourism-related shippers.
“After six months, volume was basically flat, but the strong quarter moved our year-to-date results into positive territory. It’s good to have this momentum going into the fourth quarter,” Hong said.
YB reported that its agricultural cargo volume statewide increased by 5.3 percent over the third quarter of last year. For the first nine months of 2013 agricultural volume rose 5.8 percent.
Agricultural cargo exports actually decreased for Kaunakakai by 7.0 percent for the third quarter. Looking at the first nine months in total, though, agricultural exports from Kaunakakai have increased 5.6 percent.
For agricultural exports statewide, four ports increased their volume: Kahului, up 15.5 percent; Honolulu, 9.2 percent; Hilo, 6.5 percent; and Kaunakakai, 5.6 percent. Agricultural cargo from Kawaihae dropped 8.5 percent, and Nawiliwili declined 20.2 percent when compared to the same period a year ago.
Agricultural volume includes only cargo that qualifies for the company’s island product discount of 30 to 35 percent, which applies to locally grown agricultural products.