AAPA Seaports Advisory

Port Traffic Metrics: Davisville/Quonset, Indiana, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New York/New Jersey, Sept-Îles

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Davisville Auto Imports Topped 227,000 in 2015

Rhode Island’s Port of Davisville imported autos in record numbers in 2015 for the sixth year in a row, a total of 227,021 compared to 178,215 in 2014. An additional 42,150 vehicles arrived by rail and truck boosting the port’s 2015 vehicle count to 269,171. Auto imports are now six times the volume handled two decades ago.

The port also received a record 193 ship calls, accounting for nearly half of the vessels arriving Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay ports and terminals.

The Port of Davisville is a component of the Quonset Business Park, which is owned and managed by Quonset Development Corporation (QDC), an agency of the state of Rhode Island.

Vehicles discharged from vessels at Davisville are processed, finished and distributed across the United States by North Atlantic Distribution, Inc. (NORAD), a long-time Quonset tenant. Since beginning operations here in 1986, NORAD has invested more than $40 million dollars in the facility, where it now employs almost 400 full and part-time workers and occupies 230,000 square feet of building space.

Anticipating still further growth, Governor Gina M. Raimondo included a $70 million bond proposal in her state budget to modernize and reconstruct Pier 2 at the Port of Davisville.  

"For a vision of what is possible in Rhode Island, we don’t need to look any further than the Quonset Business Park," said Gov. Raimondo. "Here in North Kingstown nearly 11,000 people work at over 200 companies, including one of the Top 10 auto importers in all of North America. The Port of Davisville is one of our state’s most important assets, and today’s announcement is another example of how Rhode Island can be a leader on the global stage."

Davisville is Rhode Island’s only public port. A recent analysis found that port businesses in 2014 accounted for about $333 million in business output, more than 1,500 jobs, $97 million in household income, and about $27 million in state and local tax revenue.

"We are thrilled to have reached another great milestone with our partner NORAD, but there is still much more growth to come for the Port and its businesses," said Steven J. King, PE, managing director of the QDC. "We have an enormous amount of momentum and we look forward to using this great asset to bring more economic growth to Rhode Island."

Car carriers at berth and auto imports on the dock at the Port of Davisville
Photo/Quonset Development Corporation

Ports of Indiana Set Annual Shipping Record in 2015

The Ports of Indiana handled more than 12.2 million tons of cargo in 2015, surpassing 2014's record volume by nearly 18 percent, or 1.8 million tons. It was the first time in the port authority’s 54-year history that throughput exceed 12 million tons.

Shipments of coal, steel, bulk commodities and ethanol-related products helped drive significant increases in annual cargo volumes at the agency’s three ports – Mount Vernon and Jeffersonville on the Ohio River and Burns Harbor on Lake Michigan. Coal volumes increased 69 percent while ethanol shipments more than doubled, and dried distillers grains (DDGs) increased 64 percent from 2014. Other gainers were steel ( 18 percent), cement ( 17 percent), soy products ( 4 percent) and limestone ( 12 percent).

"Our port companies and stevedores who attract cargo to our ports did a tremendous job in 2015," said Ports of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper. "They've become masterful in leveraging Indiana's ports' year-round maritime access to world markets as well as connections to multiple Class I railroads and major highways and interstates. Their business performance in this uncertain economy is highly commendable, particularly in the coal and steel sectors."

The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon handled a record 6.6 million tons of cargo in 2015, a 36 percent increase from 2014 and 30 percent higher than the previous record set in 1994.  

The Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville set a record for the second year in a row - 2.8 million tons of cargo, up 16 percent from 2014. Steel tonnage was more than double that of the previous record, set in 2014, helped in part by robust demand in the auto industry. Jeffersonville port tenant companies supply components for all six of the top U.S. automakers.

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor recorded its second highest cargo volume in more than two decades, 2.8 million tons. Of particular note were multiple shipments of beer fermentation tanks for breweries in Illinois and Michigan.

"While we savor the victories our port companies achieved in 2015, we are mindful of the challenges they continue to face with the pressure on fossil fuels and steel prices," said Mr. Cooper. "Despite the difficult economy, steel shipments at our ports still reached an all-time high in 2015 with many of our 28 steel companies processing steel for the record number of new cars and trucks sold by the U.S. auto industry last year."

Based on the economic successes of Indiana's ports, Governor Mike Pence, in his 2016 State of the State Address, called on the port authority to explore building a fourth port in southeastern Indiana. 

Long Beach Sees Seventh Straight Month of Container Growth

The Port of Long Beach kicked off the New Year by logging its seventh straight month of container traffic gains, a 29 percent jump from a year ago to 536,188 TEUs.

Imports alone accounted for 278,491 TEUs ( 30.3 percent), exports for 106,739 TEUs ( 8.4 percent), and empty containers for 150,958 TEUs ( 28.6 percent).

"We are encouraged by the strong start to the year, which stands in stark contrast to the congestion we faced a year ago," said Port CEO John Slangerup. "Our January results are another indicator that the hard work by our entire port team – our customers, employees, business partners and key community stakeholders – continues to deliver superior results. We are off to a solid start in 2016 and will continue to make the necessary strategic investments in capital, energy and innovative solutions to ensure that Long Beach remains the port of choice for international trade."

View the latest monthly cargo numbers

Los Angeles January Volumes Increase 33%

This January was the Port of Los Angeles’s busiest January ever for container traffic, with throughput up 33 percent from a year ago to 704,398 TEUs. That included year-on-year increases of 41.6 percent for inbound loads, 1.5 percent for outbound loads, and 44 percent for empty containers.

"Record January volumes is a very encouraging way to start 2016, particularly after the slow start that West Coast ports experienced last year," said Los Angeles Port Executive Director Gene Seroka. "As cargo owners replenish their inventories after the holiday season, our terminals and supply chain partners continue to demonstrate progress in moving larger container volumes per ship call, and we are grateful for the work they’ve done in recent months to increase supply chain efficiencies and optimization."

Current and past data container counts for the Port of Los Angeles may be found at: http://www.portoflosangeles.org/maritime/stats.asp

New York/New Jersey Port Sets Cargo Volume Record in 2015

The port authority reports container throughput soared to a record high at the Port of New York and New Jersey for the second year in a row in 2015. The year-end tally of 6,371,720 TEUs (or 3,664,013 containers) beat the 2014 total by 10.4 percent.

In detail, the data show increases from 2014 of 8.4 percent for imports, 26.2 percent for empty containers, and a 2.6 percent drop in exports.

China remained the port’s top source of containerized imports with 1,013,669 TEUs, followed by India with 196,956 and Germany with 189,622.  Top containerized import cargos were furniture, apparel and clothing, and machinery parts.

ExpressRail, the port authority's ship-to-rail system serving New York and New Jersey marine terminals, also set a new record, handling 522,244 containers, an increase of 12.2 percent compared to 2014, the previous best year for rail activity. The agency has invested more than $600 million in ExpressRail and is planning a new ExpressRail facility at Greenville Yard in Jersey City. The port's rail projects – along with road and security infrastructure work at the port – are funded by portwide cargo facility charges.

Vehicle shipments through the bi-state port also increased, by 21.5 to 477,170 from 392,704 in 2014. The port authority in 2014 began a targeted incentive program in 2014 aimed at attracting new automobile manufacturer clients and encouraging existing ones to increase vehicle volumes.

The port received 2,251 vessel calls in 2015, down 7.4 percent from 2,432 in 2014. More cargo on fewer ships points to the growing average size of vessels calling New York/New Jersey, a trend likely to accelerate after the Bayonne Bridge is raised. The $1.6 billion bridge project will elevate navigational clearance by 64 feet to 215 feet.  Construction is 44 percent complete; the navigational clearance is expected to be done by the end of 2017.

On the labor front, 181 new longshoremen, 44 checkers and 62 mechanics were hired in 2015 to work at port facilities, supplementing the 568 dockworkers hired in 2014 for a total of 855 new dockworkers during the last two years.

The two consecutive years of record port growth have resulted in substantial increases in jobs and economic activity associated with port activity. Currently, the port generates 336,600 full-time jobs in the region, an increase of 13 percent from 2012, according to a recent study by the New York Shipping Association. The study also found that the port contributes to $21.2 billion in personal income, and nearly $53.5 billion in business income.

"We want to be the best maritime gateway in the United States, and these impressive numbers show we are making progress to achieve that goal," said Port Authority Port Commerce Director Molly Campbell, PPM®. "However, for us to efficiently handle the larger ships and cargo volumes that want to come here, we must join with our stakeholders to continue to implement strategies to improve port performance. We have made strides in this area, but clearly more must be done."


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