As activity at the facilities of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) approaches the halfway point of 2014, cargo statistics compiled thus far strongly suggest that 2014 will be another year of major successes at the Port of Philadelphia, with the fifth year of double-digit cargo growth a likely development by year’s end.
Comparing the period of January to May 2014 with January to May 2013, containers have increased almost 29 percent; breakbulk cargoes have increased almost 16 percent; Roll-On/Roll-Off cargoes have increased almost 7 percent; and liquid bulk cargoes have increased more than 5 percent. All told, total cargo tonnage at PRPA facilities is up over 13 percent when comparing January to May 2013 with January to May 2014.
The following figures illustrate many of the specific cargo gains at PRPA’s maritime facilities:
Containers have been a stand-out so far this year, with 177,335 TEU’s handled during January to May 2014 compared to the 137,734 TEU’s handled during January to May 2013, a dramatic gain of almost 29 percent. Counted as metric tonnage, 1,152,862 metric tons of containerized cargo was handled in January to May 2014 compared to the 982,641 tons handled during the same period of 2013, a 17 percent gain.
Among breakbulk cargoes (those commodities not shipped in containers), steel and forest products showed particular gains. 176,717 metric tons of steel were handled January to May 2014 compared to the 100,460 tons handled during the same period of 2013, an almost 76 percent gain. 201,774 metric tons of forest products (including lumber, wood pulp, and rolls of high-quality paper) were handled January to May 2014 compared to the 177,356 tons handled during the same period of 2013, an almost 14 percent gain. Fruit (99,944 metric tons handled) and cocoa beans (69,578 tons handled) performed about the same during the two periods being compared.
The major Roll-On/Roll-Off cargo at the Port of Philadelphia continues to be automobiles, principally new Hyundais and Kias from South Korea. 84,192 metric tons of automobiles arrived at the Port of Philadelphia in January to May 2014, compared to the 78,908 tons handled during the first five months of 2013, an almost 7 percent gain. Counted as individual units, January to May 2014 saw 60,671 automobiles arrive here, compared to the 56,262 cars that arrived January to May 2013, and almost 8 percent gain.
558,349 metric tons of liquid bulk cargoes moved through the Port in January to May of this year, compared to the 529,985 tons moved during the same period last year, a 5.35 percent gain.
Looking at all cargoes in total, 2,371,099 metric tons of cargo moved through the facilities of the Port of Philadelphia in during January to May 2014, compared to the 2,088,250 metric tons that moved through those facilities during January to May 2013, a 13.54 percent gain.
“Between our aggressive terminal operators, our expert labor force, PRPA’s dedicated professional staff, the excitement created by the Delaware River Channel Deepening Project, and the excellent support we’ve received from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and his administration, the Port of Philadelphia has a formula in place for continued high performance, and I don’t think that is going to change,” said PRPA Chairman Charles G. Kopp, Esq. “And we still have some entirely new cargoes on the horizon, including wood pulp from Fibria Cellulose, which will begin arriving here this summer. I really think that the sky is the limit for us.”
PRPA will report complete cargo statistics for the first half of 2014 as soon as they become available. Based on these January to May figures, port officials are optimistic that those figures will continue the noteworthy and sustained growth the Port of Philadelphia has enjoyed since 2010.