AAPA Seaports Advisory

Port Traffic Trends: Long Beach, New Orleans, Port Everglades, Virginia

Print Print this Article | Send to Colleague

Long Beach: Container Traffic Growth Gives Port its Best October in 8 Years

The docks remained busy at the Port of Long Beach in October. Container volume rose 6.3 percent from year-earlier levels to 619,983 TEUs, giving the port its best October in eight years. The gains follow the most successful quarter in the port’s 104-year history.

In detail, this October’s numbers show an increase from last year of 6.5 percent for export laden containers, a 0.8 percent drop in imports, and 20.8 percent jump in empty container movements. The calendar year-to-date total of nearly 6.0 million TEUs was up 5.4 percent from January-October 2014.

"We had an early peak in July and August, with much of the inventory for the holiday shopping season coming early. On the export side, we’ve seen increases for the past two months, as shipping lines choose Long Beach for its reliability and service," said Port CEO Jon Slangerup. "Year to date, we’re up more than 5 percent, so 2015 is shaping up to be one of our best years ever."

View the latest monthly container traffic figures.

New Orleans’ Container, Cruise, Real Estate Businesses Booming Reports Port President LaGrange in Annual Address

Container traffic at the Port of New Orleans has exceeded 500,000 TEUs in a 12-month period for the first time, Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange, PPM®, announced during his the annual 'State of the Port' address on  November 10.

"It’s another milestone that comes on the heels of four record years in a row," Mr. LaGrange said. "We anticipate continued growth in our container market, along with a robust breakbulk and project cargo market, as we recently set 14-year highs in tonnage moved over port docks."

The most recent 12-month container data, through September, show the port handled 537,285 TEUs, a 13.6 percent increase from a year ago. During that time, the port’s container trade with Central America more than doubled, buoyed by banana imports and paper and chemical exports.

The port’s latest available breakbulk cargo data, through May 2015, point to a tonnage increase of more than 15 percent, thanks in part to an 18.7 percent jump in imported steel.

"While we expect some softening in the imported steel market this fall, we anticipate the investment boom in the chemical and petrochemical industry on the Lower Mississippi River will spur continued growth for the future," Mr. LaGrange said.

Chemical and petrochemical companies have announced more than $81 billion in investments in new and expansion projects in Louisiana. "Leading experts" cited by the port predict chemical exports could triple as these projects come online.

The port’s cruise industry also crossed a historic milestone this year, with more than 1 million revenue passengers passing through its cruise terminals. The calendar-year total for 2014 was 1,014,325 passengers.
"We set our goal to surpass the 1-million passenger mark a few years ago," Mr. LaGrange said. "Well, we did it, thanks to our valued cruise partners, a strong marketing effort and continued investment into first-class facilities."

And those figures could rise again, as Carnival Cruise Line will increase its capacity for its four- and five-day year-round itineraries by 34 percent in April when the Carnival Elation is replaced by the Carnival Triumph. Port officials will also welcome 19 New Orleans port calls by seven different ships and five cruise lines during the next year.

"A third cruise terminal at Poland Avenue is expected to be completed in late 2017," Mr. LaGrange said. "That project will free berthing space for additional home-ported cruise ships and allow us to aggressively market New Orleans as a unique port of call."

River cruising is also growing in New Orleans, as American Cruise Line will add a third sternwheeler to its homeported New Orleans fleet when the America joins ACL’s Queen of the Mississippi and American Eagle in April. ACL’s expansion is in addition to Viking River Cruises plan to establish its first North American homeport in New Orleans by 2017.

The port’s industrial real estate portfolio is producing strong results as well.

"In the years since the closure of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, we have worked to re-image that property into an international logistics hub with firms adding value to cargo right here in New Orleans," Mr. LaGrange said. "Today, we have 42 leases covering about 500 acres and generating $6 million in annual revenuenearly double the revenue from when the MR-GO was open to deep-draft shipping."

New and Expanded Services, FEC Rail Boost Port Everglades Cargo Volumes

Port Everglades’ container throughput exceeded one million TEUs for the second year in a row during the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015. Preliminary reports indicate a record year-end total of 1,060,506 TEUs, up 4.7 percent from 1,013,344 TEUs in FY 2013-14.

Port officials credit the increase to new and expanded cargo services and the first full operational year of the Florida East Coast Railway (FERC)'s intermodal container transfer facility.

"We continue making substantial infrastructure investments to help our customers grow their businessesmost notably, the FECR's railyard and roadway improvements to improve the last mile of landside connectivity," said Port Everglades Chief Executive and Port Director Steven Cernak, PPM®.

The FECR celebrated its first-year anniversary operating its ICTF at Port Everglades with a 26 percent increase in volume. The near-dock 43-acre rail facility resulted from a public-private partnership between the FECR, Broward County and the State of Florida.

In addition, the Eller Drive Overpass opened early in 2015 to connect the east end of I-595 directly to the port's main entrance. The Florida Department of Transportation invested $42.5 million to build the Overpass, which allows vehicles entering Port Everglades to travel unimpeded over two new at-grade rail tracks that lead into the FECR's new rail facility. Interstate-595 connects directly to I-95, I-75 and Florida's Turnpike.

Several Port Everglades terminal operators experienced TEU increases during FY 2014-15, including Crowley, Florida International Terminal, Hyde Shipping, King Ocean, Mediterranean Shipping Company (Port Everglades Terminal) and SeaFreight.

Produce importer Ayco Farms began operating a 5-acre terminal at the port and has a weekly service to import melons from Central America from May through November.

Recently, SeaLand and APL's North American Express Service (NAE/ACX) began service to Latin America, which is expected to generate an additional 20,000 TEUs in FY 2015-16.

Aerial perspective of the new Florida East Coast Railway’s intermodal container transfer facility at Port Everglades.
Photo/Port Everglades.

Project Cargo and Grain Top Seaway Cargoes in October

With two months left in the international shipping season, U.S. Great Lakes/Seaway system ports were busy moving grain and project cargo in October.

"We anticipated an increase in vessel activity and cargo tonnage into the Great Lakes Seaway System for the month of October, and we saw it," said Betty Sutton, administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.  

October traditionally signals the initial push to get cargo into and out of the Great Lakes Seaway System before the end of the navigation season. Increases were seen in the number of international ships entering the system loaded with project cargo for manufacturers in Cleveland, Toledo and Duluth. Those same ships left the Seaway System carrying grain and project cargo loaded in Milwaukee, Duluth and Sturgeon Bay.

Grain has been surging through the Port of Toledo terminals operated by ADM, The Andersons, Hansen Mueller, Kuhlma and Mondelez International. Shipments are up 28 percent from a year ago to more than 1.2 million tons.

"It's the best year we've had for grain shipments through Toledo since 2006," noted Joe Cappel, PPM®, vice president of business development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. "Most folks know we export corn and soybeans from Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana from Toledo to global destinations, but our total also includes imported oats and wheat from Canada. The oats are used for animal feed and much of the wheat is milled into flour."  

Cargo volumes at the Port of Cleveland continue to exceed 2014 levels despite the recent slowdown of the global steel market, according to David Gutheil, the port authority’s vice president, maritime & logistics. "Through October," said Mr. Gutheil, "we were running approximately 12 percent ahead of 2014 tonnage for international cargo. Much of this is due to new cargoes, such as steel pipe, handled by Federal Marine Terminals, and project cargoes, handled by both Federal Marine Terminals and C-Port Maritime."

Furthermore, he said: "The Cleveland-Europe Express has far exceeded 2014 volumes. Although the strong dollar has weakened exports, our container volumes have increased by more than 400 percent compared with 2014, and overall tonnage is up by more than 300 percent compared with last year. Spliethoff also recently announced a monthly service to India via Antwerp that will start in 2016, which will provide shippers with more options via the CEE. In partnership with Spliethoff and C-Port Maritime, we are also working on plans to offer a weekly service between the Port of Cleveland and the Port of Antwerp beginning in 2016."   

"Global pressures on regional markets and sustained drops in commodity pricing have impacted our entire Great Lakes shipping community throughout 2015," said Vanta Coda, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. "With recent trade actions, we hope to restore those tonnages next year. At times like these, ports look for those ‘good news’ stories, and for us here in Duluth that’s been the rise in breakbulk and project cargo shipments at our Clure Public Marine Terminal. Volumes are up. Traffic mix of high-value cargoes is strong. In October alone we handled components for oil processing and generators for power generation as well as wind blades exported from North Dakota to Germany. We’ll welcome at least two more salties before the end of this season and hope the surge continues well into 2016."

St. Lawrence Seaway cargo transits for the period April 2 to October 31 fell 9 percent from a year ago to 27 million metric tons, mostly due to declines in general cargo (-10 percent), liquid bulk (-10 percent), iron ore (-12 percent), and coal (-37 percent). On the upside were potash (32 percent), stone (33 percent), gypsum (69 percent), and U.S. grain exports (32 percent).
Virginia Port Sets Single-Month Record for TEUs, Calendar Year Volumes Up 8.5%

Container movements through the Port of Virginia’s Hampton Roads marine terminals reached a monthly high in October of 233,466 TEUs. That was up 5.6 percent compared to October 2014, giving the port a year-to-date total of 2,148,759 TEUs and an increase from January-October 2014 of 8.5 percent. October was also the port’s eighth consecutive month of volumes greater than 210,000 TEUs. The previous single-month record, 230,511 TEUs, was set in May.

Year-to-date gains were also posted for containers transported in and out of the port by rail (9.1 percent) and truck (3.9 percent), containerized cargo tonnage (8.7 percent), Virginia Inland Port boxes (2.3 percent) and vehicle units (71.9 percent). View a complete statistical profile.

"We have to maintain this level of productivity as we begin to push for further improvements," said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. "We have initiatives under waythe North Gate project at NIT (Norfolk International Terminals) as an examplethat when complete will push the needle toward greater productivity and service capability."


Back to AAPA Seaports Advisory

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn