Maui, Lanai harbors see cargo gains

Interisland shipper Young Brothers’ largest Neighbor Island port of call, Kahului Harbor, and its smallest, Kaumalapau Harbor on Lanai, recorded the highest percentage point gains in cargo volumes in 2012 among its six Neighbor Island port of calls, according to the shipper.

Kahului Harbor recorded 44,380 container/platform equivalents of shipments from Honolulu last year, up 3.3 percent from 42,970 CPEs, according to the Young Brothers’ Quarterly Report released Thursday.

Kaumalapau Harbor had a 28.5 percent increase in cargo volume to 3,461 CPEs from 2,694 CPEs the previous year.

On the flip side of the ledger, Kaunakakai Harbor logged a 6.7 percent decrease in shipments last year to 5,460 CPEs. That was the steepest drop of the six Neighbor Island ports served by Young Brothers.

Overall, Young Brothers interstate shipping cargo volume – a barometer of Neighbor Island economic activity – was pretty flat year over year, up only 0.4 percent to 129,655 CPEs. A modest 2 percent jump in the fourth quarter of 2012 ended a seesaw year, the report said.

In the October-to-December quarter, Kahului Harbor logged a 4.8 percent increase in cargo to 11,004 CPEs compared with the same quarter in 2011. Kaunakakai Harbor showed a modest increase as well, up almost 1 percent with 1,393 CPEs.

“The Port of Lanai continued to show strong quarterly comparisons in cargo volume, reflecting fuel cargo that Young Brothers began transporting in early 2012,” the report said. “In addition, Lanai continued steady in-bound shipments of materials for building improvements and renovations.”

The report did not mention that the island has had a new owner since last summer, Oracle billionaire CEO Larry Ellison. His plans for the island, of which he owns about 98 percent, are beginning to trickle out.

Kaumalapau Harbor’s cargo volume jumped nearly 50 percent in the quarter to 1,007 CPEs.

“The year was a bit of a seesaw, but it’s always good to carry positive momentum into the new year,” said Glenn Hong, president of Young Brothers. “We’d like to see the volume trend line sustain a modest positive direction for a change. We have some optimism, but clearly cargo volumes have a ways to go to demonstrate a continued growth trend.”