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Rail News: Intermodal

Vancouver, Georgia ports post volume gains


Through the year’s first half, Port Metro Vancouver handled 58.7 million tons of cargo, up 1 percent compared with volume from the same 2010 period. Total foreign tonnage rose 1 percent to 46.1 million tons and total domestic tonnage increased 1 percent to 12.6 million tons.  

Container traffic continued an upward trend in the first half, rising 5 percent to 1.2 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs). A 12 percent increase in containerized exports offset weaker demand for consumer goods that resulted in only a 1 percent gain in imports, said officials at the port — which is served by CN and Canadian Pacific — in a prepared statement.

Bulk volume inched up 1 percent as gains in dry bulk cargo (such as coal and potash) helped mitigate a 22 percent drop in liquid bulk cargo. However, auto volume declined 28 percent, “a reflection of the market challenges stemming from the major disruption of manufacturing in Japan,” port officials said.

“As the year unfolds, it is clear that our strength lies in our diversity,” said Port Metro Vancouver President and Chief Executive Officer Robin Silvester. “Demand from Asian economies continues to be the cornerstone of the port’s success, and will drive our business in the future.”

Meanwhile, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) announced the Port of Savannah handled 2.93 million TEUs in fiscal-year 2011, which ended June 30, up 11 percent compared with volume in FY2010. Exports rose 12 percent and imports increased 9 percent.

FY2011 auto and machinery volume at the Port of Brunswick jumped 40.1 percent to 465,342 units and breakbulk cargo at all terminals climbed 37.5 percent to 2.2 million tons. The terminals are served by CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway.

Continued marketshare gains by the ports and a modest domestic recovery helped drive up volume, said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz in a prepared statement. In addition, there was a strong global rebound in such developing nations as Brazil, China, India and Russia, he said.

GPA also announced it renewed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Panama Canal Authority, which initially was signed in July 2003. Areas of cooperation between the parties include information sharing, joint marketing efforts, capital improvement plans, training and technology.

The authority stands to benefit from the Panama Canal’s expansion, which is slated for completion in 2014, GPA officials said. The canal’s new locks are expected to direct ships with nearly three times the capacity to the Port of Savannah.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/5/2011