Port Houston focuses on growth in Latin America with new hire

Port Houston recently announced the hiring of Moacyr Pedro to lead business development efforts in Central and South America. 

Pedro, who will be based in São Paulo, has more than 13 years of experience in shipping and procurement. Pedro aims to secure new international trade opportunities and develop sales projects for Port Houston.

“I hope to help take the Port Houston team to new heights in my area and provide value to this tremendous organization,” Pedro said in a release.

His hiring comes at a time when Port Houston’s volume has slipped. It fell 12% during April, to 221,540 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), compared to 252,693 TEUs during the same time last year. 

Port Houston saw an 18% decline in import market share from March 29 to April 26. (SONAR: PIMS.USHOU)

Port Houston saw an 18% decline in import market share from March 29 to April 26, according to FreightWaves SONAR, which has data highlighting freight markets.

Port Houston handled 3,910 auto units during April, 41% less than the same month last year and down 31% for the first four months of 2020.

Steel, primarily used in the energy industry, is down 50% year-to-date at 784,733 short tons through the end of April, a reflection of the turmoil in the oil and gas sector, port officials said.

“We’ve had 26 announced blank sailings this year, including seven for the month of June,” said Roger Guenther, executive director of Port Houston. “It’s yet to be seen what July will look like but hopefully we’ll see some improvement into the summer.”

One area that Port Houston hopes to expand is Latin America, which currently accounts for 20% of the port’s container trade.

The port has nine regularly scheduled container services to and from Central and South America. Total trade grew 7% in Latin America last year, with exports increasing by 11%.