Port Houston: A Record-Breaking July for the Container Trade

Port Houston, the largest port on the Gulf Coast and the sixth-largest container port in the United States, has achieved a remarkable milestone in July 2023. The port handled a total of 328,498 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containerized cargo, a 10% increase over the same month last year and the fourth-biggest month ever at the port for container volume. This marks the sixth month of double-digit growth this year, with a cumulative throughput of 2.2 million TEU, a 17% year-on-year surge.

The impressive performance of Port Houston reflects its strategic position as a gateway for international trade, especially with Asia. According to data from PIERS, containerized imports from Asia grew by 6% in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period last year. The port also saw a significant growth in both import and export volumes in July. Loaded import containers were up 17% compared to July 2022, at 159,881 TEU, while loaded exports for the month stood at 102,644 TEU, a 36% increase.

Port Houston’s executive director, Roger Guenther, attributed the success to the port’s efforts to build capacity and adjust to the changing market by providing more yard space, more equipment, and more hours of service to its customers. He also expressed his gratitude to the port’s partners in the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) for their cooperation and dedication to maintain cargo fluidity despite the extraordinary volume.

However, Guenther also pointed out some challenges and opportunities for improvement. He urged importers to quickly evacuate their containers to open up space, and encouraged both exporters and importers to increase their use of the port’s Saturday gates, which now are open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM every Saturday. He also emphasized the urgent need for the federal government to approve and fund the Houston Ship Channel Expansion Project, which would widen and deepen the channel to accommodate larger vessels and increase efficiency.

Port Houston is not resting on its laurels after achieving its best July ever. The port continues to invest in infrastructure and technology to enhance its competitiveness and service quality. In June, the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority awarded two contracts totaling $430 million to complete the remaining Galveston Bay segments of the Houston Ship Channel expansion project. The project is expected to be completed by 2025, and will benefit not only Port Houston, but also the entire region and nation.

Port Houston is a vital economic engine that supports more than 3.2 million jobs and generates $802 billion in economic value annually. With its record-breaking performance in July and its ongoing initiatives to improve its capacity and efficiency, Port Houston is poised to continue its role as a leader in international trade and a driver of economic growth.

We at the Herd Law Firm are proud to fight for maritime workers and passengers in all types of personal injury claims, and never waver in our commitment to help these maritime workers and their families when they are injured.



  1. Biggest July ever for container TEUs at Port Houston
  2. Port Houston: 2021 State of the Port
  3. Port Statistics – Port Houston
  4. Port Houston Sustainability Booklet 2022

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