GALVESTON, TX -April 18, 2018 - The Port of Galveston announced on Wednesday strong results for the month of March 2018. Total vessel calls for the month increased approximately 63 percent compared to March 2017 and improved to 33 percent year-to-date over last year. Total cargo volume was up 32.5 percent over March 2017 and up 31 percent year-to-date when compared to the first quarter of 2017. This represents the third consecutive month of double-digit growth at the Port.
“The Port continues to see growth as is evident by last month’s results, including consistent month-over-month increases in vessel calls and cargo volume, reflecting a very positive start to our 2018 fiscal year,” said Port Director and CEO Rodger Rees.
The Port handled 83 vessel calls in March, compared with 51 ship calls in March 2017, and 217 vessels year-to-date for the first quarter of 2018 compared with 163 vessels over the same time period last year. The primary contributing factor to such a large increase in vessel calls was the arrival of more lay vessels and barges. The Port saw a 300 percent increase in lay vessels on a monthly comparison and a 314 percent increase year-to-date. Lay barges increased 350 percent compared to March 2017 and 91 percent year-to-date over the same period last year. Additionally, Cargo ship calls are up 23 percent on the monthly comparison and approximately 11 percent for the year. Cruise ship vessel traffic increased by 37 percent over March 2017 and more than 28 percent year-to-date over last year.
Bulk grain exports led the increase in cargo volume for March 2018 with a 111 percent increase over March 2017 and an increase of 70 percent year-to-date. The increase in grain exports was the direct result of the coordinated efforts by Port staff, US Army Corps of Engineers and ADM management to dredge the channel and the berth at the ADM Grain Galveston facility berth to accommodate larger grain vessels. Other cargo segments added substantially to the overall picture. Roll-on Roll-off (Ro-Ro) cargo was up 58.5 percent due to an additional 6 vessel calls for the month, adding more than 15,700 short tons compared to same month in 2017 and lifting year-to-date Ro-Ro tonnage almost 67% over the same period last year. Bulk fertilizer imports were up 113 percent for the month and approximately 28 percent year-to-date.
About the Port of Galveston
The Port of Galveston is the region’s gateway to the Gulf for cruise ships and international trade. Located at the entrance to Galveston Bay, the Port leases and maintains facilities on both Galveston Island and Pelican Island. The Galveston Island operations are a diversified mix of cargo including roll-on-roll-off cargo, dry bulk, export grain, refrigerated fruit, general cargo, and project cargo. In addition, the Port handles over 1.8 million cruise passenger movements annually. The Port’s Pelican Island facilities comprise a combination of undeveloped property, an active ship and rig repair facility, and liquid bulk operations. The Port is a self-supporting enterprise utility with operating revenues of approximately $38 million. It does not rely on tax dollars for operations.