Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Port of Longview Reports Record Volumes

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Longview announced on June 27 that it handled a record amount of cargo in 2013, seeing cargo volumes soar by 18 percent as demand for logs and grain increased in Asia.

The port handled 7.4 million metric tons of cargo in 2013, compared to 6.3 million metric tons in 2012, according to data. Log exports skyrocketed by 62 percent, from 531,000 metric tons in 2012 to 858,000 metric tons last year.

Steel imports surged 47 percent, something the port attributed to the United States’ drastic reduction of foreign steel import tariffs. Bulk cargos continued to play a large role at the port last year, with upticks in salt, calcined coke, wheat, soybeans, talc and soda ash.

Despite the gains, however, operating revenue at the port dipped slightly in 2013, breaking a five-year record streak. The port’s 2013 year-end results revealed a six percent decrease in operating revenue, falling from $33.8 million in 2012 to $31.7 million last year. The 2013 numbers did exceed those of 2011, when the operating revenue was $28.3 million.

The majority of Longview’s operating revenue comes from cargo handling fees, while four percent is from property rentals. After covering operating costs, the port’s 2013 net operating income, before depreciation, was $6.7 million.

Longview attributes the 2013 operating revenue drop to fluctuations in cargo markets. Wind energy cargo and iron oxide fines, of which the port handled large quantities in 2012, did not come through the port last year. The demand for wind energy cargo plummeted due to delays in approving federal wind energy subsidies. The port says additional cargos were impacted by customers switching to sourcing cargo domestically and by poor weather conditions affecting crop production.

Despite the revenue drop, however, Longview managed to hold its place in 2013 as the third largest port in Washington state by operating revenue, behind Seattle and Tacoma.