AAPA Seaports Advisory

Port Traffic Trends: Florida, Northwest Seaports, Oakland

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Cargo and Cruise Continue to Grow at Florida Seaports

The Florida Ports Council’s Seaports: High Performance – 2017-2021 Five-Year Florida Seaport Mission Plan provides updated figures on international trade, cargo data and cruise activity at Florida’s seaports and a look at infrastructure needs.

"Florida seaports have demonstrated three straight years of growth in total cargo tonnage, including an increase of 4.2 percent in 2015/2016. This is in addition to a strong cruise sector, where Florida continues to be home to the top three cruise ports in the world," said Doug Wheeler, president and CEO of the Florida Ports Council. "Clearly, port infrastructure investments by Governor Scott and the Legislature are paying off as Florida further establishes itself as a key player in the global marketplace."

The statutorily required report is produced by the Florida Ports Council on behalf of the Florida Seaport and Transportation and Economic Development Council.

Some highlights:
  • Florida’s waterborne international and domestic cargo in Fiscal Year 2015/16 increased 4.2 percent to 107.4 million tons from 103 million tons in FY 2014/15.
  • Containerized cargo tonnage grew 4 percent, dry bulk by 1.8 percent, and liquid bulk by 5.8 percent.
  • Container traffic accounted for 3.5 million TEUs (+0.9 percent) and cargo valued at $50.1 billion (+6.4 percent).
  • Florida’s top three trading regions, Asia, Europe, and South and Central America and the Caribbean accounted for 94.3 percent of all trade through the state’s seaports.
  • 15.5 million cruise passengers (+1.4 percent)
  • Florida’s 15 seaports in 2015/16 supported nearly 900,000 jobs, $40.1 billion in personal income, $4.2 billion state and local tax revenue, and $117.6 billion in total economic activity.
  • $2.8 billion in programmed port infrastructure investments during the next five years, from FY 2016/17 through FY 2020/21
"Due to the state’s priority on seaport development, Florida ports trade with more than 200 countries and continue to expand reach and accessibility every year," said Wayne Stubbs, PPM®, FSTED chairman and Port Panama City director. "Port investments through FSTED have a return on investment of nearly $7 in state and local tax revenue for every $1 of state funding, creating a diverse and growing economy for Floridians and future generations."

Tacoma/Seattle: NWSA Year-to-Date Container Volumes Grow 8 Percent

The Northwest Seaport Alliance reports container volumes at its Seattle and Tacoma terminals remained steady in April as the new ocean carrier alliance deployments took effect.

The April TEU data show year-on-year gains of 6 percent for imports, 1 percent for exports, and 8 percent for international trade overall (including empties).  Domestic container moves fell 21 percent.

The monthly and year-to-date totals of 282,775 and 1,182,070 TEUs exceeded prior year levels by 0.5 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively.

Other cargo:

  • Breakbulk fell 10 percent, to 55,119 metric tons year to date due to soft market conditions.
  • Auto trade through April dropped 13 percent to 53,925 units due to weakening U.S. demand and shifting manufacturing locations
  • Strong Chinese demand sparked a 165.3 percent upsurge in log exports to 94,547 metric tons. 

For details, click on Container volumes -- April 2017 and Cargo statistics - April 2017.

Oakland Sees More Cargo, Fewer Ships

A shipping industry trend toward bigger container vessels is evident at the Port of Oakland, where vessel traffic through April of calendar year 2017 declined even as container throughput increased.

Port data show that 539 ships visited Oakland during the first four months of 2017, down 5.6 percent from 571 a year ago. In that same period, container through increased by 2.8 percent 767,455 TEUs from 746,541 in January-April 2016.

Fewer ships means fewer diesel emissions. It also means less competition for berthing space.

The average container capacity of vessels calling Oakland exceeds 8,000 TEUs, compared to around 5,000 TEUs just three years ago. The port now receives weekly calls by 14,000 TEU ships.

"Shipping lines have moved to larger vessels to consolidate cargo and cut costs," explained Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. "We’re the beneficiaries because we can handle volume growth efficiently and sustainably."


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