AAPA Seaports Advisory

Port Traffic Metrics: Georgia, Indiana, Seattle/Tacoma

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Georgia Ports Mark Busiest Month Ever

The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) achieved outstanding January results, with double-digit growth across all business sectors and a 26 percent increase in total throughput to some 3.0 million short tons.

At the Port of Savannah, container throughput jumped 16.1 percent to a January record of 331,468 TEUs. Loaded containers reached a monthly high of 271,753 TEUs. Containerized cargo also increased, by 22.1 percent to 2.57 million short tons.

At the Port of Brunswick, bulk cargo more than doubled to 235,802 tons, an increase from January 2016 of 125,998 tons. Breakbulk cargo at Ocean Terminal in Savannah and the Mayor's Point and Colonel's Island terminals in Brunswick grew by 17.7 percent to 211,575 tons.

In addition, 52,778 cars, trucks and tractors rolled through GPA’s Brunswick and Savannah facilities, a 7 percent increase from January 2016.

"The phenomenal growth at Georgia's ports speaks to the powerful, vibrant economy of Georgia and the Southeastern U.S.," said GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood. "As we continue to expand our transportation infrastructure through a deeper harbor, the largest crane fleet of any U.S. terminal, unmatched interstate connections and a mega-terminal for rail, you will see our ports continue to capture market share and bring new business to the state."

Ports of Indiana Set Quarterly Tonnage Record

Ports of Indiana reports the state’s three public ports together handled nearly 3.9 million tons of cargo during the fourth quarter of 2016, the most for any quarter in the agency’s 55-year history. That beat the previous record, set in second quarter 2015, by some 300,000 tons.

The agency oversees the ports –Mount Vernon and Jefferson on the Ohio River and Burns Harbor on Lake Michigan – from its headquarters in the state capital of Indianapolis.

The 2016 year-end total of 11.3 million tons in 2016 gave the Ports of Indiana its second best year ever and its third consecutive year of cargo volumes in excess of 10 million tons.  Since 2014, the Ports has handled 34 million tons of cargo, its highest three-year total ever.

Major cargoes systemwide included coal, steel, grain, fertilizer and limestone. Soy products set a record, up 6.0 percent from 2015.  Other gainers were oil (+18 percent) and minerals (+4 percent).
  • Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor handled 2.6 million tons in 2016, completing the highest three-year total in the port's history. Grain shipments were up by 57 percent, coal by 11 percent. Large-dimensional cargoes increased nearly 25 percent as the port continued to attract project moves such as beer fermentation tanks and wind turbine components. This March, Ratner Steel will complete an $8 million expansion that will add 100,000 square feet to its Burns Harbor steel processing facility.
  • Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon moved nearly 2.5 million tons of cargo during the fourth quarter, shattering its previous quarterly record by 44 percent. During 2016, port tenant Consolidated Grain and Barge Co. announced it would invest $31 million to increase its Mount Vernon soybean processing capabilities. Another tenant, Valero Renewable Fuels Co., in 2016 completed the multi-million dollar installation of new corn-receiving equipment and a new DDG dryer system at its ethanol plant.
  • Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville experienced its second busiest year for steel cargo, thanks in great part to continued strong demand for new automobiles. The port's "steel campus" consists of 13 companies that provide steel processing, warehousing, stevedoring and distribution services to the automobile and appliance industries. POSCO, a multinational steel-maker based in Pohang (South Korea), is constructing a wire rod-processing center at the port that will produce bolts, fasteners, and nuts for the auto industry.
Maritime operations at the state's three ports contribute more than $7.8 billion in total economic activity per year to regional economies and support nearly 60,000 total jobs.

"Thanks to our world-class port companies and other businesses that use our facilities, our ports remain one of the most vibrant port systems in the heartland of America," said Ports of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper. "With our total 2016 shipments more than two million tons higher than the previous five-year average, a global steelmaker announcing plans to build a processing plant at our Jeffersonville port and several existing port companies making significant capital investments during the year, the prospect for continued growth at the ports is certainly encouraging."

Seattle/Tacoma: NWSA Container TEU Count up 17% in January

The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) reports container throughput at its Seattle and Tacoma marine terminals this January jumped 17.5 percent from a year ago to 257,312 TEUs. That included double-digit gains for imports (+ 18.9 percent), exports (+16.7 percent), domestic shipments (+14.6 percent) and empty containers (+15.3 percent).

Fuller ships calling ahead of the Lunar New Year as well as retail stores restocking their inventory following a strong holiday retail season were contributing factors to the increase, the Alliance said.

The Lunar New Year fell on January 28 this year. Traditionally, the factories in China ramp up production leading up to the holiday before they shut down for up to two weeks for the holiday. As a result, ocean carriers reduce sailings to accommodate the slowdown. With China making up approximately 60 percent of its import volumes, NSWA anticipates lower cargo volumes in February.

Domestic container trade performed better than the previous year. Alaska volumes alone jumped 19.1percent thanks to three additional sailings in January. NWSA expects its Alaska trade to drop 5 to 6 percent this year "due to soft market conditions."

Other cargo:

  • Breakbulk cargo: Up 8.4 percent to 14,502 metric tons due to several military shipments
  • Auto trade: Up 4.3 percent to 12,613 units due to the release of a new model, as well as a resolution of labor/management issues in Korea.

To learn more, click on Container volumes – January 2017 and Cargo statistics – January 2017. 


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