Business

Young Brothers: Cargo Volumes Mixed at Big Island Harbors

May 11, 2016, 3:48 PM HST
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File photo by Wendy Osher/Maui Now.

File photo by Wendy Osher/Maui Now.

The amount of cargo volume from Young Brothers, Limited going through Hilo Harbor increased in the first three months of 2016, but the opposite has happened at Kawaihae Harbor.

According to Young Brothers, Hilo Harbor was one of four neighbor island ports that saw an increase in cargo volume during the first quarter of this year, increasing by 3.8 percent from the prior year. Increases were also seen on Kaua’i, Moloka’i, and Lana’i.

In Kawaihae, however, cargo volume dropped by 6.5 percent.

Overall, Young Brothers noted a 0.6 percent increase in volume, a slight increase from a company projection that was completed by Paul Brewbaker of TZ Economics, who projected just a 0.4 percent increase.

Brewbaker’s analysis stated that “recent economic conditions in Hawai‘i’s Neighbor Islands have not been as good as on O‘ahu. In contrast to the early-2000’s economic expansion when Neighbor Island home building was a dominant engine of Hawai‘i economic growth, the Neighbor Islands in the 20-teens are experiencing, and seem likely to continue to experience, relatively muted growth of aggregate output, income, and jobs compared to O‘ahu or to national economic experience.”

Image courtesy: Young Brothers, Ltd.

Image courtesy: Young Brothers, Ltd.

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One area of concern across the state is a sharp drop in agricultural cargo volume, caused in large part by dry weather conditions. Locally-grown agricultural intra-state shipments have dropped by 8.8 percent across the board, with the sharpest drop coming at Hilo Harbor, down 14.5 percent. Kawaihae Harbor saw a smaller 8.7 percent decline.

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Papaya shipments have been especially low, with the damage caused by last year’s heavy rains impacting the amount of shipments of the fruit. Young Brothers says that large quantities of papayas aren’t expected to be shipped until later this year.

Year-over-year, Young Brothers says shipments of agricultural products from the Big Island’s two harbors are down 12.7 percent.

“The first quarter ended with only a modest increase in overall shipments,” said Young Brothers vice president Roy Catalani. “So far we aren’t seeing any strong trends emerge, and it’s possible that, consistent with our cargo volume projections for the year, this lukewarm first quarter will foreshadow the rest of this year.”

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