The three big commodities in the Port of Boston- cargo, cruises and cars climbed consistently in 1999, said Massachusetts Port Authority officials.
The overall, year end cargo figures for 1999 reveal a total container tonnage increase of 7.8% with export tonnage alone climbing 13.6% over the previous year. The number of containers handled in 1999 rose nearly 6% from 83,689 to 88,535.
Boston Autoport moved close to 84,000 vehicles including Volkswagens, Audis and Subarus to lucrative markets in New England, the Midwest, and Eastern Canada in 1999-nearly 10,000 more than moved in 1998.
As the Port of Boston continues to prove an increasingly popular destination for cruise travel, Massports Black Falcon Cruise Terminal experienced more activity than seasons past. A total of 73 cruise vessels carrying 128,028 passengers called Boston in 1999. This, compared to 1998 when 62 vessels carried 105,801 passengers, represents a 21% increase in Massports cruise business.
This year, Massport has scheduled over 120 vessel calls and will handle over 200,000 passengers. Cruiselines visiting Boston this year include the Queen Elizabeth II and new regular service on both Carnival and Premier cruiselines.
"The importance of the Port of Boston cannot be underestimated," said Virginia Buckingham, Massport executive director and CEO. "Increased volumes of cargo and rising numbers of passengers coming through our port demonstrates our commitment to stay competitive and generate more economic activity in New England."
"Through terminal consolidation and the ongoing hard work of our port operators and labor force, the Port of Boston is making a new name for itself," said Michael Leone, Massports port director. "Our cargo handling operations are fast, reliable and efficient," he added.
With consolidation of its terminals now firmly in place, Bostons productivity levels are impressive. Improved container yard operations at Conley Container Terminal are resulting in truckers picking up or returning containers in less than 30 minutes of arrival. ILA labor productivity is equal to or better than New York, averaging 26 box moves per hour and contributing to a positive upward trend.
Dredging in Boston Harbors main channels is just weeks away from final completion. Conley Terminalss berths are 45' deep while the harbors main channels are 40'. Massport recently learned that the Army Corps of Engineers will be studying plans to further deepen the harbors main channels to 45".
A host of other seaport development projects are on the horizon for this year including completion of International Cargo Port, a new warehousing and transloading center and expansion of Black Falcons Cruise Terminal.