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Rail News: Intermodal

Slew of ports pumped up container volumes in 2014


Seven major U.S. ports recently reported significant volume gains or record-setting cargo figures for 2014.

Port of Los Angeles: After December volume increased 1 percent to 658,567 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), 2014 volume totaled 8,340,065 TEUs, up 6 percent compared with 2103. Volume reached the third-most total in the port's history, trailing only 8.4 million TEUs registered in 2007 and 8.5 million TEUs logged in 2006.

Port of Long Beach: Although December volume fell 2.6 percent to 567,237 TEUs, the port also registered its third-highest annual volume in 2014. Container volume increased 1.3 percent year over year to 6,820,806 TEUs, the largest total since the port's peak years in 2006 and 2007.

Ports of Seattle and Tacoma: Total 2014 volume was flat at 3.4 million TEUs at the two ports, which for the first time released joint cargo volume in Puget Sound through their Seaport Alliance. Combined volumes at the ports have hovered near 3.5 million TEUs since 2010. Grain exports and petroleum volumes grew, but log exports fell 28.9 percent due to decreasing demand in China.

Port of Houston: Total cargo exceeded 37 million tons last year, up 5 percent year over year and a new record. The port handled 6.6 million tons of steel and 19.4 million tons of containers, both new high-water marks. Significant capital investments projected to cost more than $1 billion are planned at the port for the next five years.

Port of Savannah: A busy December helped lift 2014 volume to 3.34 million TEUs, an increase of 312,037 TEUs over 2013. The port's Ocean Terminal moved 716,055 units, up 8.6 percent. "[Our] ports benefited from an improving retail economy, renewed strength in manufacturers' orders of raw goods and the expanding population of the Southeast," said Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Curtis Foltz in a press release.

Port of Charleston: December volume climbed 14 percent to 141,956 TEUs, helping 2014 volume rise 12 percent to 1.8 million TEUs. "The increase reflects growth in a number of business segments, including import parts and components for automotive manufacturing, and export grains and refrigerated cargo," said Jim Newsome, president and chief executive officer of the South Carolina Ports Authority, in a press release. The South Carolina Inland Port handled 3,741 rail moves in December, completing its first full calendar year of operation with 42,555 total rail moves.

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