Thursday, January 26, 2012

TEU, Tonnage Numbers Jump at Port of Portland

For the second straight year, the Port of Portland handled the third-most tonnage in its history, as 2011 totals improved upon results for 2010. Year-end reports show a two percent increase, with 13.37 million tons handled compared to 13.12 million the year before.

Growth was driven primarily by container volumes, which improved by nine percent, going from 181,100 twenty-foot equivalent units in 2010 to 197,446 TEUs last year.
Full export containers grew by 27 percent, representing a jump in demand for regional products heading overseas.

The growth is partially accounted for by the February 2011 start of a 25-year lease of the port’s container terminal to ICTSI Oregon, which over the course of the year also helped full container imports improve by five percent to 92,785 for the year.

Aside from containers however, most other cargo categories stayed flat or showed minor declines in 2011.

Grain remained essentially unchanged at 4.7 million tons. Mineral bulks – primarily potash used in fertilizer and soda ash used in glass production – dropped by half of a percent, to 5.2 million tons.

Break bulk, mostly steel slab and steel rail, dipped 2.6 percent for the year to 941,120 tons.

Auto imports also lagged; the 234,048 vehicles handled by Portland in 2011 was an 11.5 percent year-over-year decrease. The port attributes the decline to multiple global factors, including effects of the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan and recent flooding in Thailand.

The disruptions to auto parts suppliers caused domino effects throughout the supply chain at factories, ports and dealerships.

The downward trend could turn around this year however, as Portland recently began exporting Ford vehicles to South Korea for the first time and Subaru has finished construction on a 413,000-square-foot facility in the port’s Rivergate Industrial District that includes auto parts distribution, a service training center and regional offices.