Port Cargo Numbers Point to Another Record Year

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The Port of Hueneme Experienced its #1 Trade Year in Port’s 78 year History

Automobiles unloading at Port of Hueneme

This year’s cargo performance sets a new milestone for the Port. This achievement is driven by our customers and business development team.

In a year that included coast wide congestion issues the Port of Hueneme is reporting its highest cargo year in its 78 year history. Overall auto traffic a niche for the Port increased by 10.6% to more than 321,000 autos. Total tonnage for FY 2014-2015 came in at a strong 1,574,903 metric tons representing a 9.5% increase from the Port’s all-time 2013 high. This represents a continuing path to economic growth keeping the Port at strong trade levels.

Referring to the healthy trade figures, Port Commission President Jess Herrera said, “The record cargo throughput in our port is not an accident but a reflection of the expertise that our facility brings to the maritime industry on every level. Making the most of our limited area, our dedicated staff, longshoremen and stevedores, continue to demonstrate our ability to make cargo move efficiently, safely, and in the most cost efficient manner possible. The Port of Hueneme has always been a port of opportunity, given the opportunity we provide results for our community and our customers.”

Strong freight activity growth was seen in the Port’s other niche markets of high and heavy cargos, fresh produce, fertilizer, and domestic commodities. Automobile imports which account for 60% of the Port’s business revenue boasted a robust 14.6% increase. A large percentage of the import increase was driven by foreign manufacturers redirecting autos intended for other markets to Hueneme and other Ports for temporary handling. Consistent with nationwide trends the strengthening US dollar has had an adverse impact on exports. Auto exports which reflect approximately 2% of Port revenue dropped by 26.6%.

BMW narrowly edged Hyundai/Kia in the import arena with a strong 14.4% growth. BMW’s overall processing volume through the Port of Hueneme’s Vehicle Distribution Center has increased over the same period last year and this trend is expected to continue for the remainder of this year.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) is the leading shipper handling agricultural and heavy equipment cargo at the port, and provides shipping and technical processing for automobiles. While shipping volumes for cargo in the heavy equipment segment have remained relatively flat, vehicle activity in 2015 has surged upwards of 40% as compared to 2014,” said Len Mazzella, Head of Port Operations for the West Coast & Gulf at Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, a premier global RoRo and vehicle shipping and logistics provider.

On the fruit side of the Port’s business portfolio banana imports remained strong at 655,643 metric tons. Total fresh fruits and vegetables (including bananas) handled by Port customers grew by a significant 5%. Other fresh fruit and vegetables (without bananas) increased by 34.1%. According to Del Monte’s Port manager Chuck Caulkins, “Del Monte Fresh Produce continues to perform strongly underscoring the importance of international trade for job creation and economic development both locally and across the state." Adding to the fruit sector’s strong showing was citrus exports to Japan and Korea. 60% of the citrus was destined to Japan. The Port also grew fresh fruit sector numbers in grape exports to South America. Imported grapes and blueberries from Chile positively impacted overall numbers.

Other customers of the Port includes Yara North America Inc, who manages the liquid bulk fertilizer and Air1 Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) through the Port and across North America. The Air1 Diesel Exhaust Fluid is a high purity solution of urea in water (32.5%), used to chemically reduce NOx emissions from trucks, buses and other units powered by diesel engines. Yara is the world's largest producer and supplier of this product and the Port of Hueneme is a key supply point for the company’s western United States customer base. Overall numbers for Yara showed a 15% growth over last year.

Shallow draft cargo (fish, lube oil, and vessel fuel) grew by 4.2% for the year and the offshore domestic oil trade held steady. General Cargo (non-perishable and non-auto) was up by an explosive 54.3%,

Port Director Kristin Decas remarked on some of the core reasons for the Port’s steady growth, “This year’s cargo performance sets a new milestone for the Port. This achievement is driven by our customers and business development team. We’re committed to continuing our partnerships and strategic planning to maximize the social and economic benefit the Port brings to our community and industry sectors.”

In other Port news, The Port of Hueneme announced that it will receive more than $532,000 in funds from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the Fiscal Year 2015 Port Security Grant Program (PSGP).

The funds will provide multi-functional applications protecting critical port and regional infrastructure from terrorism, enhance maritime domain awareness, improve port-wide maritime security risk management, and maintain or reestablish maritime security mitigation protocols that support port recovery and resiliency as well as enhance the response capabilities of our regional law enforcement partners.

Said President of the Board Jess Herrera, “The Port is proud to be a recipient of $532,020 through the Port Security Grant Program administered by the U.S Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). These funds will enable our port to invest in systems that enhance our capabilities to deter and respond to activities not in our best interest and allow us to provide a safer and more secure port.”

Congresswoman Brownley upon receiving news of the grant said, “The Port of Hueneme is vital to the economic well-being of Ventura County and Southern California and I am pleased to announce that the Port of Hueneme will receive this critical homeland security funding to ensure safety and security at the port.”

About the Port of Hueneme
"This funding comes at a critical time as we continue to partner with our community law enforcement partners to ramp up security and maximize the safety of the citizens we serve," said Port of Hueneme CEO & Port Director Kristin Decas. "A special thank you to Congresswoman Brownley, who has been most instrumental in leveraging the legislation necessary to ensure all ports receive essential funding for important security projects."

The Port of Hueneme is one of the most productive and efficient commercial trade gateways for niche cargo on the West Coast. The Port is governed by 5 locally elected Port Commissioners. The Port moves $8 billion in goods each year and consistently ranks among the top ten U.S. ports for automobiles and fresh produce. Port operations support the community by bringing $1.1 billion in economic activity and creating 10,226 trade-related jobs. Trade through the Port of Hueneme generates more than $69 million in annual state and local taxes which funds vital community services.

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Will Berg
Port of Hueneme
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