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Rail News: Intermodal

Georgia, Maryland ports note volume gains


In the first quarter of fiscal-year 2012, the Georgia Ports Authority’s (GPA) two ports handled 6.5 million tons of freight, up 5 percent compared with volume from the first quarter of FY2011. 

Container volume in the quarter, which ended Sept. 30, increased 3.7 percent to 770,190 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) at the ports in Brunswick and Savannah.

“The positive quarterly container results were aided by an early peak shipment of holiday goods, which occurred during September, delivering 11.1 percent TEU growth for the month,” GPA officials said in a prepared statement.

In September, retailers’ earlier-than-expected holiday season orders pushed the Port of Savannah’s volume up 13.5 percent year over year to 2.1 million tons, they said. The Port of Brunswick’s September volume jumped 56.2 percent to 172,453 tons.

Meanwhile, the Port of Baltimore recently reported that it exported a record amount of coal and imported a record volume of salt last year, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau and analyzed by Global Trade Atlas.

The port handled more than 13.8 million tons of export coal, breaking the previous record of 12.8 million tons set in 1981. The port also imported 1.8 million tons of salt, surpassing the previous high of 1.4 million tons set in 1994. Coal and salt are handled by the port’s private marine terminals; CNX Marine Terminals Inc. and CSX Corp. operate export coal terminals, and salt is imported primarily by Rukert Terminals.

China was the top destination for coal exports, receiving 24 percent of the total volume, followed by South Korea and the Netherlands. Chile, Mexico and Egypt produced the most salt that was imported to the port.

Overall, the port’s public and private terminals last year handled 33 million tons of cargo, up 47 percent compared with 2009 volume.

The port also recently announced that in 2011’s first half, it handled a record 538,000 tons of autos — more international auto tonnage than any other U.S. port, according to Port of Baltimore officials.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/16/2011