Auto exports drive record year at Port of Hueneme
The Port of Hueneme in Ventura County posted its best-ever year for international trade and its second-highest year on record for domestic and global trade combined, it said Sept. 22.
Auto exports, up 30 percent year-over-year, led the surge during the port’s 2013-14 fiscal year.
Total tonnage moving through the port during the year was more than 1.4 million metric tons — just 1 percent shy of its all-time high the previous year.
The Port of Hueneme is the only deep-water port between Los Angeles and the San Francisco. The top import products moving through it have traditionally been cars and bananas. Auto imports jumped 7.1 percent during the year, but exports of U.S.-made cars exploded — up 31 percent compared to last year. Much of the auto export boom was driven by foreign manufacturers including Honda Motor Corp., Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan and Acura sending cars made in U.S. facilities back to the Asian market, port officials said.
Hyundai/Kia lead car imports with 10 percent growth, the port said.
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, or WWL, is the top shipper for agricultural and heavy equipment cargo at the port. It also provides shipping and technical processing for cars. “WWL’s import and export volumes at the port of Hueneme have experienced a slight increase in 2014, as compared to the year before,” Rich Heintzelman, the firm’s executive vice president and head of commercial for the Americas said in a statement.
The port processed 655,589 metric tons of bananas. Other fresh fruit and vegetables handled by port customers grew 1.6 percent. Shallow draft cargo — including fish, lube oil and vessel fuel — was down “marginally” for the year, port officials said, and the offshore domestic oil trade held steady.