Business continues to climb at the Massachusetts Port Authority’s (Massport) Conley Terminal in South Boston. Overall cargo tonnage at the container facility rose 11 percent during the first half of 2005 as compared to the same time period in 2004. Conley Terminal handled 713,985 tons of containerized cargo from January through June in 2005 and 643,073 tons from January through June 2004. Export tonnage alone accounted for a 21 percent increase during this time, escalating to 274,385 tons in 2005 from 227,554 tons in 2004. Also during the first six months of the year, more than 92,000 container moves marked a 10 percent increase over the same period last year when 83,684 moves were reported. “These rising cargo figures underscore the importance of the Port of Boston to our regional economy,” said Craig Coy, CEO Massport. “As an active center of commerce that serves the entire New England region, the increased traffic at the Port of Boston translates into greater activity for our trade-dependent industries that rely on our port. Massport has worked hard to accommodate the current growth in trade and we are continuing to make preparations for future growth and demands.” Massport recently began an 18 month, $25 million capacity enhancement program at Conley Terminal. Under the plan, the cargo handling capacity at Conley Terminal will increase by 50 percent. The construction project involves realigning the yard to optimize efficiencies, the purchase of eight new rubber tire gantry cranes, repaving to allow for greater container stacking and repositioning the chassis pool and maintenance and repair functions to a nearby site. The Port of Boston’s cargo volume has risen sharply over the last few years. Since 2002, total container tonnage handled at Conley Terminal climbed 45 percent with export tonnage alone soaring 53 percent. Cargo handled through the first two quarters of 2005 totaled 713,985 tons as compared to 491,621 during the same period in 2002. Also during this time period, exports totaled 274, 385 tons in 2005 and 178,922 tons in 2002. Within the last three years, The Port of Boston welcomed its first direct ocean carrier service from the Far East as well as a second direct call from Europe. The weekly Far East Asia service is headed by COSCO and partners, “K” Line, Yang Ming and Hanjin Shipping lines. Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) serves Boston with two weekly calls from Northern and Southern Europe. “The Port of Boston offers service to all major trade markets and is represented by some of the worlds largest container lines,” said Mike Leone, Massport’s Director of the Port. “Contributing to the mix in our full service port is the weekly barge service from New York’s Columbia Coastal Transport as well as the weekly feeder service from Halship in Halifax.” 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. Recently, increased refrigeration and storage units were added to accommodate the high volume of refrigerated cargo imported and exported through Boston. These improvements have provided ease and mobility on the terminal, resulting in reduced turn around times for truckers and other port users.