Port of Philadelphia’s 2013 cargo statistics show 15% increase in cargoes handled

By: | at 04:41 PM | Ports & Terminals  

The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) has announced that its newly-released cargo statistics for 2013 again indicate not only a major increase in cargo tonnage compared to the previous year, but also the fourth consecutive year of double-digit cargo growth. Specifically, the maritime facilities of the Port of Philadelphia handled5,100,385 metric tons of containerized and breakbulk cargoes in 2013, a healthy gain of over 15 percent compared to the 4,431,214 tons handled in 2012.

Sugar was one of the many cargoes that showed strong gains in 2014.  Seen here is sugar from Colombia arriving at the Port of Philadelphia’s Tioga Marine Terminal.
Sugar was one of the many cargoes that showed strong gains in 2014.
Seen here is sugar from Colombia arriving at the Port of Philadelphia’s Tioga Marine Terminal.

“We had a very busy 2013, so we were somewhat expecting good news when final cargo figures were compiled,” said PRPA Chairman Charles G. Kopp, Esq. “Still, you never know until you see the numbers, which in this case well exceeded our optimistic expectations. To exceed 5 million tons of total cargo, with double-digit cargo growth for the fourth year in a row, is a testament to all the hard-working men and women in this port, as well as the strong support we receive from our state government.”

Virtually all cargoes at the Port of Philadelphia showed gains, often large ones, last year. The following are among the highlights.


With 2,443,248 metric tons of containerized cargoes handled in 2013 compared to the 2,003,909 tons handled in 2012, containerized cargoes were up a dramatic 22 percent. Counted as TEU’s, 367,499 TEU’s were moved in 2013 compared to 2012’s 273,190 units, a 34.52 percent gain. Containers are primarily handled at PRPA’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal, which is operated by Holt Logistics.

Breakbulk Cargoes (cargoes not shipped in containers)

With 480,264 metric tons of forest products (principally rolls of high-quality paper) arriving at the Port of Philadelphia in 2013 compared to 376,980 tons handled in 2012, forest products were a sizable 27 percent. Forest Products are handled at PRPA’s Forest Products Distribution Center at Piers 78, 80 & 74, which is operated by Penn Warehousing and Distribution Company.

Cocoa beans showed a big 34 percent gain, with 121,639 metric tons of cocoa beans arriving at the Port in 2013 compared to the 90,529 tons arriving the year before. Cocoa beans are handled at PRPA’s dedicated cocoa bean facility at Pier 84, operated by Dependable Distribution Services, Inc.

Sugar, which returned to the Port in 2012 after an absence of many years, continued its strong return with a 100 percent jump in 2013 (47,327 metric tons handled in 2013 compared to 2012’s 24,331 tons). Sugar arrives at PRPA’s Tioga Marine Terminal, operated by Delaware River Stevedores.

Miscellaneous breakbulk cargoes (one-time pieces of business, special shipments, etc.) created much activity in 2013, resulting in a 172.65 percent spike in business (2,552 tons handled in 2013 compared to the 936 tons handled in 2012). This miscellaneous business encompassed a variety of cargoes spread out among all PRPA facilities.

Fruit (250,287 metric tons handled) and project cargo (42,317 tons handled) performed about the same in 2012 and 2013.

All told, 1,208,350 metric tons of breakbulk cargoes were handled at PRPA facilities in 2013, a 20 percent gain over the 1,007292 tons handled in 2012.

Other Cargoes

With 1,267,915 metric tons of liquid bulk cargoes arriving at the Port of Philadelphia in 2013 compared to the 1,227,095 tons arriving in 2012, liquid bulk cargoes were up over 3 percent. Liquid bulk cargoes arrive at the southern end of the Tioga Marine Terminal and are moved via a pipeline bridge to the Kinder Morgan tank farm facility across the street.

With 180,872 metric tons of automobiles (representing 129,239 individual vehicles) moving through the Port in 2013, automobile tonnage was down slightly 6.4 percent. This is largely due to the fact that this business (principally composed of Hyundai and Kia automobiles destined for US dealerships) began very dramatically in 2010 and kept building, making an eventual leveling off inevitable. PRPA’s Automobile Processing Facility at Pier 98 Annex, operated by GLOVIS and Philly Ro-Ro, remains ones of PRPA’s busiest facilities.

“With a 15 percent jump in total cargoes, you might think we’d be somewhat satisfied,” said Chairman Kopp. “But with so many exciting things on the horizon, including a deeper Delaware River and new cargoes that will begin arriving here in the months to come, I’m confident that next year’s numbers will continue our trend of regular, sizable growth. We’re particularly excited by Fibria Cellulose, which will begin delivering wood pulp to the Tioga Marine Terminal this summer. Thanks to the efforts of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and strong cooperation by labor and business in our port, Fibria will bring substantial new cargo activity here.”

The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority is an independent agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania charged with the management, maintenance, marketing, and promotion of publicly owned port facilities along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, as well as strategic planning in the port district. PRPA works with its terminal operators to modernize, expand, and improve its facilities, and to market those facilities to prospective port users. Port cargoes and the activities they generate are responsible for thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the Philadelphia area and throughout Pennsylvania, as well as numerous other economic benefits.


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