Marine Cargo Up 47 Percentby Erik Siemers
Portland Business Journal, August 20, 2010
The Port of Portland's marine terminals carried 47 percent more tons of cargo in July, as bulk commodities continue to drive a recovery in the port's marine business.
Ocean-going vessels called the port 53 times last month compared to just 39 times last year. And total vessel calls are up nearly 15 percent from 2009, which was a grim 12 months compared to prior years.
The month's 936,713 of total cargo tonnage brought the year's total so far to nearly 7.5 million tons, which is almost 42 percent higher than last year's pace.
The resurgence has been clearly led by bulk commodities.
Breakbulk tonnage, which includes steel and steel rail, netted 109,347 tons of exports in July compared to just under 19,000 tons a year ago. Year-to-date, breakbulk volumes reached just over 572,000 tons -- a 155 percent increase over 2009.
Similarly, mineral bulk -- which includes export commodities such as the fertilizer potash -- are up more than 113 percent this year. July volumes reached 436,703 compared to just under 170,000 tons a year ago.
Even auto imports, which struggled mightily last year, are mounting a comeback. The port received just over 32.000 auto units last month, more than double July 2009's totals. Year-to-date, the port has handled 152,406 auto units, up more than 20 percent from last year.
Cargo container volumes, however, have yet to gain much traction.
Though July volumes marked a slight increase from a year ago, the number of import and export containers handled the port so far this year is up just under 1 percent to around 103,000 units.
The growth has been stunted mostly by export containers, which are down 4.6 percent this year, while imports have increased nearly 9 percent.
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