The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) saw a sharp increase in cargo volume passing through its container facilities last year, accounting for a 9.7% increase in total boxes handled with a significant 30% increase in export containers.
At Conley Container Terminal, 145,474 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) or containers were handled in 2002 as compared to 132,665 in 2001.
Export growth was exceptionally strong in 2002, accounting for a 30.4% increase in export TEUs and a 30.2% increase in export tonnage over 2001. Export TEUs jumped to 38,879 in 2002 from 29,810 in 2001, while export tons increased to 346,654 from 266,203 over this same period. Imports also grew substantially, climbing to 70,128 TEUs in 2002 from 65,387 TEUs in 2001 marking a 7.3 % increase.
"Much of this is new growth and is attributable to the increased trade with Asia," said Mike Leone, Massport's director of the port. "Much of the volume is being carried by direct ship calls from the China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) and its partners, K-Line, Yang Ming Line and Hanjin Lines' weekly direct service between Boston and Asia. The C-K-Y-H service, as it is known in the trade, has had a huge impact on container operations here. Bringing a Far East service to Boston really opened up the market for increased trade and allowed for new business in the area. Ultimately, that translates into jobs."
COSCO and its partners began calling the Port of Boston from ports in Asia with a direct, inbound service in March 2002. Later this month, the C-K-Y-H partners will further increase their service in Boston by adding a direct outbound call back to Asia.
"Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) also deserves credit for increasing the scope of their dependable weekly service to Boston from Europe," said Leone. "MSC now calls ports in the Mediterranean as well as North Europe. Ocean borne container transport to Boston is also provided by two feeder carriers: SPM, the weekly feeder service from Halifax and Columbia Coastal Transport which provides a weekly barge service from New York."
At Conley Terminal, vessel productivity rates measured in the high 20s for the average number of container moves per hour. In 2002 the highest monthly net rate of box moves per hour measured at 29.4 moves in April and only once dipped below 26 moves per hour. The Port of Boston consistently rates as one of the most efficient port facilities when it comes to vessel productivity.
Within the last few years, Massport has invested heavily in upgrading its marine facilities. At Conley Container Terminal, a modern gate facility and new electronic cargo tracking system allow truckers to minimize their time spent on the terminal. This, coupled with improved yard layout, increased refrigeration and storage areas provides ease and mobility, resulting in speedy turn around times for truckers and other port users.
At Conley Terminal's gate facility where trucks are processed coming in and out of the yard, the number of gate moves increased 4.4 % in 2002, climbing to 136,725 from 131,021 in 2001.
The Port of Boston's cruise business flourished last year also, closing with a record-topping 7.6 % increase in cruise passengers from the regularly scheduled number in 2001. The 2002 season closed with 93 ship calls and 208,286 passengers passing through Black Falcon Cruise Terminal.
The Port of Boston is the largest port serving the New England region. Top imports include: alcoholic beverages, frozen fish, footwear and furniture, while top exports include: hides, logs and lumber, paper and paper ware including waste paper and metal ware.