AAPA Seaports Advisory

Port Traffic Trends: Long Beach/Los Angeles, Philadelphia, St. Lawrence Seaway

Print Print this Article | Send to Colleague

San Pedro Ports Box Traffic Slips in September

The San Pedro Harbor ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles together handled container volumes totaling nearly 1.4 million TEUs in September, a drop of 5.0 percent from the preceding month and 1.4 percent less than in September 2014. In detail, the data show declines from a year ago of 6.0 percent for inbound loads, 7.1 percent for outbound loads, and an increase of 11.7 percent for empty containers. That brought year-to-date throughput at America’s largest container handling complex to nearly 11.5 million TEUs, up 0.7 percent from 11.4 million TEUs in January-September 2014. View the PDF for additional detail.

Oakland Import Volume Up For Seventh Straight Month

Containerized import cargo at the Port of Oakland rose in September for the seventh straight month, an increase from September 2014 of 1.6 percent. That contrasts with a nearly 40 percent import decline in January-February. The September count, brought the nine-month total to 630,580 TEUs, roughly even with last year’s 630,875.

"We're pleased with the ongoing buildup of import cargo," said Maritime Director John Driscoll. "Our job now is to maintain the momentum."

Overall containerized cargo volume – imports, exports and empty containers – declined 4.8 percent in September.  Exports alone fell 12.6 percent due, the port said, to a strong U.S. dollar and the economic slowdown in China.

View complete Port of Oakland container traffic statistics through September 2015.

Philadelphia First Half Cargo Tonnage Up 8.8%, Double-Digit Gains for Breakbulk

The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority reports cargo movements through its facilities increased 8.8 percent during the first six months of 2015, to 3,104,140 metric tons from the year-earlier total of 2,853,362 tons.

Among the top performers were break bulk cargo (up 28.4 percent to 845,092 tons) and autos, primarily Hyundai and Kia (up 8.9 percent to 79,160 vehicle units). Containerized cargo also increased, by 4 percent to 1,470,821 tons. Box movements totaled 214,267 TEUs, down 2 percent.

Break bulk cargos experiencing the greatest gains were cocoa beans (81,485 tons, 12.0 percent), fruit (134,921 tons, 13.5 percent), steel (248,148, 27.6 percent), and forest products (369,951 tons, 54.0 percent).
Liquid bulk accounted for 671,415 tons, about the same as last year.

"2014 was the fifth consecutive year of double-digit cargo growth at the Port of Philadelphia, and our initial numbers for 2015 point to more good news like that by the end of this year," said PRPA Executive Director James T. McDermott, Jr. "With our 45-foot channel deepening project nearing completion and our Southport marine terminal project moving forward, these are exciting times for the port, and the fact that our cargo numbers have been going up even before these projects are completed is particularly gratifying."

Seaway Project Cargo Moves Continue in September

September was the St. Lawrence Seaway’s second busiest month so far of the 2015 navigation season, according to the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., with significant flows to and from U.S. Great Lakes ports of project cargo, dry bulk commodities and general merchandise.   

That included aluminum for delivery to auto manufacturing states of Michigan, Ohio and New York, containerized goods arriving via the Cleveland Europe Express (CEE) liner service, and wheat and soy beans outbound for Canada, Central America, Europe and North Africa.

At the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, the bulk carrier HHL Nile made a September delivery of 16 beer fermentation tanks for Lagunitas Brewery in Chicago. "The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway allows companies to ship large tanks and project cargos right into the heart of the Midwest, which greatly reduces the cost and complications of trying to move dimensional cargo across the country by land," said Port Director Rick Heimann. "This was the second delivery for Lagunitas this season following the 29 beer tanks the port handled for the brewery last year.

With the popularity of craft breweries, more beer tanks are being shipped bringing the port’s total so far in 2015 to 36, including 12 tanks in June for Bell’s Brewery in Michigan and four to Revolution Brewing in Chicago.

"The Port of Cleveland continues to post strong tonnage numbers in 2015, with general cargo numbers running more than 18 percent higher than 2014," said David Gutheil, vice president maritime & logistics. "Project cargo movements continue to remain strong, thanks to new business that has moved across our docks handled by both Federal Marine Terminals and C-Port Maritime, which handles the Cleveland-Europe Express business line. In September, we welcomed our first project cargo shipment from Brazil via the CEE, and we continue to receive inquiries from potential customers who now view the Port of Cleveland as a cost effective and efficient option for their containerized and non-containerized cargo."  

Aluminum, pig iron and project cargo shipments remained steady at the Port of Toledo. "Construction of a new gas fired electricity plant in Oregon, Ohio, has led to a series of project cargo shipments through Toledo," said Joe Cappel, PPM®, vice president of business development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. "These project cargo shipments help the port stay busy and the port helps the project by providing a location where shipments can be discharged and stored in close proximity to the final destination."

In September, too, some 19,000 metric tons of aluminum arrived by barge at the Port of Oswego from Sept-Iles, Quebec, for the automotive manufacturing sector. "We are seeing another record year in aluminum shipments through the Seaway," said Port Authority Executive Director Zelko Kirincich.

Another September cargo was 47,000 metric tons of ethanol shipped from the Port of Green Bay to Montreal for use as a fuel additive. The port has experienced a 14- percent increase in ethanol shipments because of what Port Director Dean Haen describes as "an East Coast shortage."

Seaway cargo transits for the season through September 30 totaled 22 million metric tons, a 12-percent drop from a year ago reflecting declines in coal (-40 percent), iron ore (-15 percent), general cargo (-13 percent), and liquid bulk (-11 percent). On a more positive note, U.S. grain shipments were up by 60 percent in September and dry bulk by 8 percent, thanks to increases in potash ( 32 percent), stone ( 27 percent), gypsum ( 68 percent), and pig iron ( 288 percent).

Virginia Port Container Growth Continues, Robust Financial Rebound

Container movements through the Port of Virginia’s Hampton Roads marine terminals totaled 215,520 TEUs in September, an increase from a year ago of 7.2 percent and the port’s highest September volume ever. It was also the seventh consecutive month with volumes in excess of 210,000 TEUs. September traffic boosted the year-to-date count to 1,915,294 TEUs and an increase from last year of  8.8 percent.

Other September positives were rail container moves ( 16 percent), truck moves ( 2 percent), Virginia Inland Port boxes ( 42 percent), and vehicle units ( 133 percent). View a full statistical profile.

"We have brought stability and consistency to all phases of our operation and we are showing growth and positive financial results," said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. "This shows that the industry is responding: Our message that the Port of Virginia is an innovative, responsive and strategic operation is beginning to resonate. The port’s capital reinvestment program is just underway and we have a lot of work to do, but we have a clear path forward and we have the support of our labor partners, stakeholders and customers."

The port’s consolidated financial performance in the first two months of the fiscal year that began July 1 were positive as well, with operating revenues totaling $80.5 million and operating income  $3.5 million. The audited fiscal year 2015 results confirmed operating income of $13.6 million, an improvement of $30.1 million compared to fiscal 2014.

"Our improving financial picture will allow us to continue to reinvest in our facilities, our cargo conveyance equipment and our people," Mr. Reinhart said. "We have turned the corner and we must stay focused. In the coming decade, we will need to reinvest $2 billion in the Port of Virginia to increase its capacity and ensure its competitive position on the U.S. East Coast. The overall performance and result of fiscal year 2015 has cleared the way for this process to begin."


Back to AAPA Seaports Advisory

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn