The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) reported double digit increases in import, export and overall cargo volume passing through its container facilities in 2004, accounting for an 11 % increase in total TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units, a common shipping industry yardstick) handled. The table below shows the largest percentage in TEU growth in cargo volume was seen in export shipments, where a 15% increase in both TEU and tonnage was reported over 2003.
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“The combination of ocean carrier services in the Port of Boston is definitely impacting the cargo growth,” said Mike Leone, Massport’s director of the port. “Whether it is by direct vessel call or by feeder service, New England’s importers and exporters are able to reach all global markets through the Port of Boston. Established businesses as well as new businesses are benefiting from the transportation opportunities available here.” The Far East steamship alliance of China Ocean Shipping Company and its partners, “K”-Line, Yang Ming and Hanjin Shipping Lines (CKYH) began calling the Port of Boston with direct, inbound service three years ago. Since the inception of the direct service between Asia and Boston, Massport has reported steady volume growth for the partnership. The CKYH group moved 60,228 TEU through the Port of Boston in 2004, compared to 41,225 TEU in 2003, a 46% increase. Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), which has been calling the Port of Boston for 17 years, added a second weekly vessel call in Boston in May of 2003. When comparing a six month period from July to December of 2004 with the same period in 2003, Massport reported a 46% increase in MSC cargo volume. During this time, MSC containers handled in Boston rose to 13,449 TEU in 2004 from 9,216 TEU in 2003. MSCs slot charter partner is CMA-CGM. Columbia Coastal Transport which serves Boston with a weekly barge service from New York also saw an increase in cargo volume in 2004. Massport reported a 6% jump in barge volume to 32,196 TEU in 2004 from 30, 487 TEU in 2003. Carriers using the Columbia Coastal Transport service between Boston and New York include Chilean Line, COSCO, Evergreen, Hamburg Sud, Hanjin, Hapag-Loyd, Hatsu, Libra, Lykes, Maersk, MSC, NYK Line, OOCL, P&O Nedlloyd, Safbank, Yang Ming, and Zim. As the year drew to a close, the Port of Boston welcomed Halship, a new weekly feeder service from Halifax. Halship replaced the service once operated by St. Pierre Miquelon (SPM). Many of the carriers that supported that service are now using Halship including Hapag-Lloyd, NYK Line, OOCL and P&O Nedlloyd. In 2004, a six year record was broken at Massports Conley Terminal when an average of 753 trucks per day were processed through Conley Terminal during one week in October. This surpassed the previous record of 740 trucks per day reported during a week in October in 1998. Only six weeks later, this record was again broken when a daily average of 776 trucks was reported at the end of November 2004. Gate moves at Conley Terminal rose 12% in 2004, totaling 164, 555 moves, as compared to 146,484 in 2003. This translated into an average of 653 per day in 2004 compared to 589 per day in 2003. The Port of Boston not only rates high on the truck processing end, but consistently rates high when it comes to vessel productivity. Container moves in Boston average a net of 22 to 26 moves per hour. 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. An improved yard layout, an increase of more than 400 electric plugs for refrigerated containers, and increased container storage areas contribute to speedy turn around times for truckers. These improvements mean that the average truck spends less than 60 minutes at Conley Terminal to pick up or drop off a container, with some moves taking as few as 20 minutes. Quick turnaround time means greater efficiency in trucking operations and reduced costs to New England importers and exporters. The Port of Boston’s cruise business continued to flourish last year. 2004 closed with a total of 95 cruise ship calls, carrying about 200,000 passengers. 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, frozen seafood, paper and paper ware including waste paper, and metal ware.