Ag Exports Increase
Young Brothers, Limited, the intrastate cargo company serving Hawaii, released its numbers for their first quarter of this year, and the findings could reflect how Molokai is doing economically. Molokai saw a slight increase in its general and agricultural outbound cargo and a minimal decrease in inbound freight. Meanwhile, larger islands showed more notable decreases.
Roy Catalani, Young Brothers vice president of strategic planning and government affairs, looked at the detailed numbers for the Dispatch and said the only significant increase he found was in the recyclable category. These scrap metal products leaving Molokai include old cars and washing machines.
Catalani said food shipments and construction cargo generally reflect the economic climate, and these numbers stayed the about same on Molokai as this time last year.
Agricultural exports increased by 13.4 percent compared to 2012’s first quarter, but Catalani said because Molokai is such a small market, this increase only reflects an estimated one container increase per week.
“I don’t really see any significant changes between years,” he said. “Everybody produced a little bit more.”
Kauai is the only neighbor island to ship out less agricultural cargo than Molokai, and it saw a 42.7 percent decrease from 2012’s first quarter, according to data from Young Brothers. This excludes Lanai, which does not export agricultural cargo. Statewide, ag cargo went up 1.2 percent from this time last year.
“This small increase is in contrast to the 2012 trend, which for the most part experienced double digit increases in quarterly comparisons,” the Young Brothers news release said.
Young Brothers measures cargo in units called container/platform equivalents, which allow a comparison across different sized containers and non-standardized cargo. Containers come in both 20 and 40 foot sizes, and agricultural products can be shipped at less-than-container load rates.
Young Brothers President Glenn Hong said the intrastate cargo numbers have been unstable each quarter for the past few years.
“The trend has been sideways – a slight up quarter, followed by a dip,” Hong said. “We believe that some local businesses, particularly those on the neighbor islands, are still being very cautious.
Statewide, there has been a drop in cargo volumes from recycling companies as well as the federal government, including the U.S. Postal Service, according to the news release.
“These results underscore the mixed signals that we are continuing to see with regard to neighbor island economies,” Hong said.
However, Lanai did have the biggest increase of general intrastate cargo this quarter, with a 28.5 percent jump. Catalani said the larger percentage increases for smaller islands are only look significant because of the smaller base numbers, but still, increases are always good.
“As always, everyone wants to see steady increases, and Molokai achieved that,” Catalini said.