AAPA Seaports Advisory

Port Traffic Metrics: Long Beach, Oakland, U.S. Seaway/Great Lakes

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Long Beach: September Cargo Weighed Down by Hanjin Bankruptcy

The Port of Long Beach reports container movements last month fell to 546,805 TEUs, a 16 percent drop from September 2015 the port says was mainly due to the Hanjin bankruptcy.

In detail, the September data show declines from last year of 15 percent for imports (to 282,945 TEUs), 4.2 percent for exports (to 120,383 TEUs) and 27.2 percent for empty containers (to 143,476 TEUs).

Port officials said the number of containers handled during September was adversely impacted by reduced calls by Hanjin-operated ships and by the absence of Hanjin containers on vessels operated by other CKYHE Alliance members. Hanjin Shipping containers account for approximately 12.3 percent of the port’s total containerized volume.

The calendar year total through September of just over 5.1 million TEUs was down 4.6 percent from last year’s approximately 5.3 million TEUs. Learn more at www.polb.com/stats.

Oakland: Exports Up 10 Percent in September

The Port of Oakland’s export rally continued through September, with the TEU count up 10 percent compared to September 2015. It was the eighth increase in nine months and the first double-digit jump since February.

"Exports make up more than 50 percent of our overall cargo volume," said Maritime Director John Driscoll. "So the continued growth in September shows we’re playing pretty well to our strength."

Exports year-to-date beat last year’s by 9 percent, thanks in great part to shipments of California fruit, nuts and wine to Asia.

The other September data show declines for imports and empties of 4.2 percent and 25.2 percent, respectively, and a 5.0 percent drop in the total overall to 187,540 TEUs. View full cargo statistics here.

St. Lawrence Seaway Cargo Shipments Steady in September

"Notable increases" in wheat, corn, and soybean exports from the U.S. Great Lakes ports of Duluth, Milwaukee and Toledo are among the September traffic highlights reported by the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. "The good news," said Seaway Administrator Betty Sutton, "is that we anticipate that trend to continue for the remaining three months of the 2016 navigation season."  

Other strong performing September cargoes were aluminum and project shipments of crane components, machinery, and transformers.

Coal, liquids, and general cargo movements through the Port of Toledo surpassed last year’s year-to-date totals.  "Aluminum shipments led the way in the general cargo category up 27 percent over last season," said Joseph Cappel, PPM®, vice president of business development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. "While grain shipments slightly trailed totals from last year, wheat imports from Canada and corn exports are off to a good start moving into the fall harvest."

For the second month in a row, the Port of Green Bay saw improvement in year over year tonnage. "That’s a good trend to see and is reflective, in part, of the economy as well as the variable nature of shipping," said Dean Haen, Brown County Port and Resource Recovery director. "We are hopeful the trend will continue through the end of the shipping season."

"Activity at the Port of Milwaukee continues at a brisk pace with both steel and grain volumes ahead of last year," Port Director Paul Vornholt said. "We expect continued strength through the final quarter of the year." So far, steel is up 7.0 percent and grain has more than doubled.

The Port of Oswego experienced a rebound in September of aluminum imported from Sept-Iles for the local Novelis plant. "In addition to our aluminum shipments, the grain harvest is promising to be positive for the export of soybeans to Asia," according to Port CEO Zelko Kirincich.

Through September 30 of the season that began March 21, some 21 million metric tons of cargo transited the Seaway locks, a drop 5.3 percent from the comparable 2015 period. Cargo posting declines were dry bulks (-11 percent), iron ore (-13 percent) and coal (-15 percent).  Among the positives were steel slabs (+41.4 percent) and "other general cargo" (+6 percent).

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