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Rail News: Intermodal

California, Indiana ports set volume records in 2014


The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor in 2014 handled its highest annual volume since the facility opened in 1970.

Total tonnage climbed 30 percent compared with 2013, driven by strong shipments of steel, grain and salt. The port logged a 35 percent increase in ocean vessels and nearly a 25 percent rise in river barges moving through the Illinois/Mississippi river system.

"Steel going into the manufacturing sector was a key driver for the increase in port shipments," said Ports of Indiana Chief Executive Officer Rich Cooper in a press release. "In 2013, the port handled its highest steel volume since 2006, and 2014's steel tonnage more than doubled the previous year's total."

The port offers a direct interchange with 16 different railroads in nearby Chicago, including the Class Is, while Norfolk Southern Railway provides direct service to all sites on port property. The port's strategic location at the intersection of two of the world's busiest waterways and all of the nation's Class Is provides significant competitive advantages for multimodal companies who locate at the Burns Harbor facility, Ports of Indiana officials said.

Meanwhile, the Port of Oakland, Calif., in 2014 handled 2.394 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), breaking the record of 2.391 TEUs set in 2006.

A 20 percent surge in December import containers contributed to the record-setting performance, which primarily was driven by stronger U.S. demand for Asian manufactured goods, cargo diversions from congested Southern California ports and internal marketing efforts, port officials said in a press release. A freight backlog at ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach rerouted thousands of containers to the Oakland port, where BNSF Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad maintain facilities adjacent to the marine terminal area.

For the full year, the Port of Oakland's container volume increased 2 percent compared with 2013, with import volume rising 5.3 percent.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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