Tuesday, February 4, 2014

2013 Volumes Seesaw at Port of Portland

By Mark Edward Nero

It was an up and down year for traffic volumes at the Port of Portland in 2013, with imports and exports of a handful of commodities rising during the year, while others fell as much as double digits over the same time period.

According to data that was released Feb. 3, Portland had total throughput of almost 12 million tons during the 2013 calendar year, and saw more than 500 ship calls.

The total container volume – both import and export – was 178,451 TEUs, down 2.6 percent from 2012. Of that number, import containers represented 82,336 TEUs, which was an increase of 13.3 percent over the prior year, while the export container volume of 96,115 TEUs was an annual decrease of 11.5 percent.

Total volumes in other specific categories were as follows:
• Auto import and exports – 262,512, down 7.6 percent.
• Break bulk imports – 903,067, down 8.3 percent.
• Grain exports – 3,511,490 tons, down 12.7 percent.
• Mineral exports – 5,072,060, up 5.7 percent.

Portland is one of the top auto handling ports in the US, the largest mineral export gateway on the US West Coast and the largest wheat export hub in the US Although its total tonnage of 11.93 million in 2013 was down 3.4 from the previous year, it ended 2013 with one of the highest volume months in recent history with 1.3 million tons handled in December.

The port also posted fiscal year gains at the halfway point that it says bode well for 2014.