Hawaii interisland cargo volume dips

Written by Nick Blenkey

youngBrothers colorMAY 24, 2013 — Hawaii inter-island tug and barge operator Young Brothers, Limited, which is owned by SaltChuk Resources, has released the latest Young Brothers Quarterly Shipping Report. It shows that intrastate cargo shipments between Honolulu and six neighbor island ports declined by 3.9 percent in the first quarter of 2013.

“It’s disappointing to start the year with a decline,” said Glenn Hong, president of Young Brothers. “Nevertheless, it’s a continuation of the volatility we’ve experienced in quarterly comparisons of intrastate cargo volumes over the last few years. The trend has been sideways – a slight up quarter, followed by a dip. We believe that some local businesses, particularly those on the neighbor islands, are still being very cautious.”

Young Brothers’ Quarterly Report – seen as a key barometer of neighbor island economic activity – reported a 2-percent increase in the fourth quarter 2012 and an overall flat comparison (up just 0.4 percent) in 2012.

During the first quarter of 2013, the ports on Maui and the Big Island – which have the greatest intrastate cargo volumes – experienced declines: Kahului, Maui, the largest neighbor island port in terms of cargo, down 5.8 percent; Hilo, dropped 6.0 percent; and Kawaihae, down 12.3 percent.

Three ports exhibited increases in cargo volume for the quarter including Nawiliwili, Kauai, which climbed 3.1 percent. Kaunakakai, Molokai, and Kaumalapau, Lanai – the two smallest ports in terms of cargo volume within the Young Brothers system – were up 2.2 percent and 28.5 percent, respectively.

From an industry-category perspective, construction-industry cargo was relatively strong. However, cargo volumes dropped in some isolated categories with much of the overall decline in the quarter attributable to less cargo volume from local recycling companies and the federal government (which includes the U.S. Postal Service).

“These results underscore the mixed signals that we are continuing to see with regard to neighbor island economies,” Mr. Hong said. “Importantly, construction activity is picking up. However, other major categories are still somewhat flat, with a small number of different segments showing weakness from quarter to quarter.”

Read the report HERE

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