AAPA Seaports Advisory

Cargo Trends: Indiana, South Louisiana

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Ports of Indiana Shipments Up 10% in First Nine Months of 2017

Shipments during the first nine months of 2017 at the Ports of Indiana were up more than 10 percent compared to the same time period last year. Total tons handled reached over 8.1 million, the second highest volume during the first three quarters of any year in the organization's 56-year history. The growth was primarily due to increased shipments of coal, steel, fertilizer and ethanol. 

The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon's volume for the first nine months of 2017 rose to over 4.5 million tons, up 15 percent versus 2016 figures and the second highest ever at the port for that time period. The port is on track for a third-consecutive year of exceeding 6 million tons. Coal and ethanol shipments have remained strong and were up 31 and 34 percent, respectively, compared to last year. There were also significant increases in shipments of salt (54 percent), fertilizer (49 percent) and minerals (32 percent).   

Shipments at the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville for the first three quarters of the year reached over 1.6 million tons and remain strong, driven, in part, by auto- and construction-related steel processing. In September, the port's 'steel campus' celebrated the opening of POSCO, the world's fifth largest steelmaker. The nine-month tonnage for 2017 was 9 percent higher than the previous five-year average and the port continues to track towards a fourth-consecutive year of handling in excess of two million tons of cargo. 

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor handled two million tons from January through September this year, recording not only the second-highest total for that nine-month time period, but also the second highest September in the port's history. Overall shipments for the first three quarters of 2017 rose nearly 11 percent while steel cargoes were up nearly 49 percent, oils up 40 percent and grains up nearly 14 percent, compared to last year. 

Port of South Louisiana Cargo Throughput Continues to Grow in Third Quarter of 2017

Year-to-date, facilities within Port of South Louisiana’s district handled over 228 million short tons of cargo. Tonnage data thus far seems to suggest that, once again, it is on course to surpass last year’s total throughput. If so, 2017 will be, yet again, a record-breaking year.

Overall cargo handling increased by 7% during the first three quarters of 2017 as compared to the same period of 2016 (214,199,175 million short tons). Likewise, both vessel and barge calls increased by 5% and 17%, respectively.

Of the seven main cargos handled within Port of South Louisiana, five of those showed significant increases in overall handling (that is, foreign and domestic trade combined): crude oil by 8% (up to 66.6 million short tons), petrochemicals by 2% (up to 45.5 million short tons), chemicals/fertilizers by 3% (up to 20.9 million short tons), steel products by 20% (up to 4.8 million short tons), and coal/lignite/coke more than doubled (up to 10.2 million short tons).

"We at the port are happy to see the increase in tonnage," says Executive Director Paul Aucoin. "Increased tonnage usually translates into more jobs. We are looking forward to a record year."

Exports increased by 11% to over 51.1 million short tons primarily due to increased coal/lignite/coke movement. Though grain activity registered an increase, it was not significant (<1%). As Port of South Louisiana’s main import, crude oil increased by 2% to over 43.4 million short tons. The movement of cargos domestically also showed an increase (7%), particularly from the handling of chemicals/fertilizers, coal/lignite/coke, and petrochemicals.


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