End of construction on Lanai creates dip in cargo loads for Young Brothers

The Maui News – A drop in construction work on Lanai resulted in a 26.2 percent decline in the amount of cargo in and out of the island’s Kaumalapau Harbor, the smallest in the state, according to first-quarter statistics from interisland shipper Young Brothers.

Lanai saw 1,042 container/platform equivalents in the first quarter of this year, down from 1,413 last year, Young Brothers reported. (Young Brothers measures its cargo in units called “container/platform equivalents,” which allows a comparison of cargo volumes across different sizes and types of containers.)

The Pineapple Isle was the only harbor in the state to see cargo volume go down. Statewide, the amount of cargo going between Honolulu and the state’s six Neighbor Island ports was essentially flat, up only 0.2 percent compared with the first quarter of 2016.

Agricultural shipments were down 3.2 percent, “primarily driven by sharply lower shipments originating from the port of Kahului.” That’s not surprising since Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. stopped farming sugar late last year.

The amount of agricultural shipments leaving Kahului fell 34.2 percent from 275 in the first quarter of last year to 181 this year.

Modest volume increases of agricultural products from the ports of Honolulu, Kawaihae on the Big Island and Nawiliwili on Kauai were not enough to offset the drop in volume at Kahului Harbor, Young Brothers said.

At Kahului, the state’s second-busiest port behind Honolulu had an overall increase of 0.7 percent, from 10,945 loads last year to 11,023 this year, according to the shipping company. Kaunakakai reported a 0.8 percent increase from 1,443 to 1,455 loads.

“The first quarter ended with a modest increase in shipments at most of our ports,” said Roy Catalani, vice president of Young Brothers. “Excluding Lanai, cargo volumes were up at all other ports a collective 1.4 percent for the first quarter.”

For other ports, Hilo was up 3.2 percent while Kawaihae increased 0.9 percent and Nawiliwili went up 1.5 percent.

Automobile shipments were up slightly for the first quarter because of shipping by a second-hand auto dealer. Shipments by beverage companies were lower statewide, while cargo volumes from the waste and recycling sector continued to increase after a long period of low recyclable materials prices, Young Brothers said.

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