Port Metrics: Mexico, Burns Harbor, Houston, Nanaimo, Oshawa

Mexican Port Cargo Tonnage Set Record in 2015

Mexico’s ports handled a record 289.9 million metric tons of cargo in 2015, an increase of 1.1 percent compared to 2013, according to preliminary data reported by the national port agency, Dirección General de Puertos.  

Foreign trade grew by 2.6 percent, reflecting a 9.7 percent increase for imports and a 2.5 percent decline for imports. Domestic cargo fell by 3.2 percent.

The Pacific Coast port range accounted for 126.4 million tons (-3.7% percent) and the Mexican Gulf ports for 163.3 million tons ( 5.1 percent) of the cargo handled in 2015.

Tonnage increases were posted by petroleum ( 2.3 percent), breakbulk ( 10.2 percent), containerized ( 4.0 percent), and agribulk ( 10.8 percent) cargos and declines by bulk minerals (-4.1 percent) and non-petroleum liquid bulks (-13.2 percent).   

Mexico’s so-called "commercial ports" accounted for 57.5 percent of cargo handled nationwide in 2015, with the balance going to ports specializing in bulk cargoes, such as petroleum and minerals. The commercial ports handled all of the containers and automobiles and much of the break bulk, dry bulk and non-petroleum liquids shipped through the Mexican port system last year.

Mexico’s box trade hit a record high for the sixth year in a row, up 7.2 percent from 2014 to some 5.4 million TEUs. Manzanillo remained the nation’s leading container handler with nearly 2.5 million TEUs, followed by Lázaro Cárdenas (1.1 million TEUs), Veracruz (931,613 TEUs) and Altamira (647,369 TEUs). The Pacific ports collectively accounted for 69.2 percent of Mexican container throughput in 2015, down from 69.9 percent in 2014.

Veracruz continued its dominance of Mexico’s auto trade, importing and exporting 755,998 vehicles, or 59.9 percent of the 2015 national total. Lázaro Cárdenas ranked first on the Pacific coast and second nationally, with a record 357,803. Overall, the nation’s auto trade jumped 11.3 percent in 2015 to a record 1,271,148, with imports totaling 541,133 vehicles ( 37 percent) and exports 730,015 (-2.3 percent).

Mexico’s cruise ports had a good year in 2015, with increases of 6.4 percent in passenger throughput to 5.9 million and 4.0 percent in vessel arrivals to 2,175. Cruise ships visiting Mexico in 2015 carried an average of 2,722 passengers per port call, compared to 2,660 in 2014 and 2,001 in 2005. The leading ports in 2015 based on passenger volume were Cozumel (3.4 million), Ensenada (684,716), Majahual (425,102), Cabo San Lucas (383,729) and Progreso (329,269).

View a detailed statistical profile of Mexican port traffic for the years 2008 to 2015.

Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor Cargo Tonnage Highest Since 1994

Some 2.9 million tons of cargo moved through Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor in 2015. That was down from the record tonnage handled in 2014, but still the Lake Michigan port’s second-best result in more than two decades.

Among the top performing cargos were project lifts ( 96 percent), carbon products ( 37 percent), limestone ( 12 percent) and oils ( 72 percent).

"Our port continues to be a major inland hub for heavy-lift cargoes as our terminal operators handled nearly double the number of large dimensional shipments during 2015 over the previous year," said Port Director Rick Heimann. "The port has received multiple shipments for regional breweries in recent years, including 36 beer fermentation tanks in 2015. Many of these are 20,000 gallon tanks or larger."

Steel shipments, though short of the 2014 record, remained well ahead of the five-year average. Other significant cargoes in 2015 were fertilizer, grain and salt.

Projects included construction of a new mooring space for barge fleeting, upgrades to multiple dock areas, replacement of over 1,300 feet of rail track and rebuilding two railroad crossings.  

"Last year was a very good year for the port, and the credit goes to our port companies who helped attract the cargoes," said Mr. Heimann. "We continue to look for new opportunities to grow and diversify our product mix to withstand market swings and further improve our business."

Burns Harbor is one of three ports owned and managed by the state port authority, Ports of Indiana, from its headquarters in Indianapolis. The others are the Ohio River ports of Jeffersonville and Mount Vernon.

Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor
Photo/Ports of Indiana

Record-Breaking 2015 Positions Port of Houston Authority for the Future – Unsurpassed Tonnage and Growth Reported

Preliminary operating and financial results show that the Port of Houston Authority had a remarkable 2015, setting new records in container movements and cargo tonnage and growth, Executive Director Roger Guenther reported at the port commission’s February 2 meeting.

Mr. Guenther said that in 2015, the Port Authority handled 30.5 million tons of cargo at its facilities, surpassing the record set in 2014 of 30.3 million tons. Those figures exclude bulk terminals leased to third parties. Additionally, the port’s container count exceeded 2 million TEUs for the first time ever.

"The success of the port authority is a success for all of our stakeholders and the community that we serve," said Mr. Guenther, who went on to express his gratitude to the port commission, customers, port authority employees, and the men and women who work on the waterfront for their dedication to the port authority’s vision to serve as America’s distribution hub for the next generation."

Mr. Guenther reflected that the many 2015 accomplishments, which aligned with the port authority’s strategic goals, were achieved by staff relying on the leadership and support from the port commission, which he added, "drives success for our customers and users of the port authority facilities."

Nanaimo: Cargo Volume Growth and Duke Point Expansion in 2015 Provides Positive Outlook for Island Commerce

The Nanaimo Port Authority in 2015 experienced rising cargo volumes and continued progress with its Duke Point Expansion Project.

The 2015 data show cargo throughput of some 4.9 million metric tons, an increase from 2014 of 17 percent and more than double the 2.4 million tons handled in 2010.  Imports rose 23 percent and exports 12 percent from the 2014 tonnage levels.  

Substantial increases were posted by forest products, logs, chemicals, petroleum, and most especially, project and containerized cargo. The container count jumped 39 percent to a record 35,336 TEUs.

Additionally, port authority facilities accommodated some 4.7 million cruise, ferry and seaplane passengers in 2015, up from 4.4 million in 2014. View details.

The port is now in the final stages of its Duke Point expansion initiative with the delivery last summer of a 104 metric ton mobile harbour crane and the near completion of a new barge berth. This $9.3 million barge berth and the deep sea berth will allow the simultaneous accommodation of international and short sea shipping operations.

"We will be able to service post-panamax ships handling almost any cargo type, reduce congestion and delays with improved berthing options," said Port Authority President Bernie Dumas.  "Adjustments made a short time ago to provide more diverse solutions for cargo type and movement and the growth in cargo volumes for 2015 demonstrate the results that we anticipated. I believe we can look forward to a new era of Island commerce and growth for Vancouver Island’s imports and exports."

Cargo Volumes Continue to Rise at Port of Oshawa

More than 378,000 metric tons of cargo moved through the Port of Oshawa in 2015, an increase from 2014 of 5.95 percent, thanks to gains by potash, potash, magnesium chloride, asphalt and steel.

"Steel continues to lead our cargo volumes in a big way with 190-thousand metric tons moving through the port this past year," said Donna Taylor, president and CEO of the Oshawa Port Authority. "The boom in GTA [Greater Toronto Area] condo construction is driving the demand for steel, and that’s great for the port."

The port’s intermodal capabilities have been significantly enhanced by a newly-dedicated rail spur, allowing the port move cargo of all sizes year round, including project lifts associated with the planned multi-billion dollar refurbishment of the Darlington nuclear power plant in Clarington (ON). The port also sees itself as "well positioned to assist companies that will benefit from federal government plans to stimulate the economy through promised investments in infrastructure."

"The port continues to play an important role in supporting local and regional companies," said Port Authority Chair Gary Valcour. "The port ended the year on a high note, and we have every confidence that we’ll continue to steer the port in the right direction, generating revenue that helps drive the local and regional economy."