Canadian ports led by Prince Rupert outperform USWC rivals

THE volume of cargo handled via Canada's west coast ports grew at a faster rate than that achieved by their American counterparts between 2017 and 2018

29 April 2019 - 19:00
THE volume of cargo handled via Canada's west coast ports grew at a faster rate than that achieved by their American counterparts between 2017 and 2018.

The port of Prince Rupert's Fairview terminal registered a 12 per cent rise in containers moved in 2018 compared with 2017, making it one of North America's fastest-growing container ports.

The port of Vancouver achieved a three per cent increase in container throughput in 2018, handling 3,396,449 TEU compared with 3,252,220 TEU in 2017. Total tonnage rose by 3.5 per cent to 147 million tonnes, up from 142 million tonnes, reported Business in Vancouver.

The biggest gain through Vancouver port facilities was in petroleum products, including aviation and jet fuel, crude petroleum, diesel and fuel oils and gas. Those rose to 8.44 million tonnes from 6.3 million tonnes, a gain of 33.3 per cent.

Prince Rupert's container cargo continues to grow. It surged 12 per cent, four times Vancouver's three per cent increase, to 1,036,009 TEU last year from 926,539 TEU in 2017.

All other Prince Rupert terminals combined realised a 10 per cent increase, with 26.67 million tonnes handled in 2018, up from 24.17 million tonnes in 2017.

Prince Rupert Grain Ltd, which handles barley, canola, oats, soybeans and wheat, registered a six per cent drop in cargo volumes from 5.77 million tonnes in 2017 to 5.44 million tonnes in 2018. Coke and coal traffic surged 21 per cent to 9.12 million tonnes from 7.56 million tonnes.

Prince Rupert plans to boost annual container throughput capacity to 1.8 million TEU by 2022, up from 1.3 million TEU at present. The port moved past the one-million-container-per-year mark on December 18.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance (Seattle-Tacoma) saw container volumes rise by 2.5 per cent in 2018 to 3,797,626 TEU, up from 3,702,174 TEU in 2017. The port moved a total of 30.17 million tonnes in 2018, up 9.4 per cent from 27.57 million tonnes in 2017.

Container cargo rose by 10.6 per cent in 2018 to 28.87 million tonnes, up from 26.1 million tonnes in 2017. Break bulk rose by 18.1 per cent to 248,933 tonnes, up from 210,725 tonnes. Autos rose 1.4 per cent to 228,295 tonnes, up from 225,109 tonnes. Petroleum declined seven per cent to 665,670 tonnes from 715,546 tonnes.

The port increased its loading capacity early in 2018 with the addition of four post-Panamax cranes. Another four arrived in March, enabling the port to handle two 18,000-TEU containerships simultaneously.

Furthermore, port authorities have given the green light to the US$500 million expansion of Terminal 5. The project will raise the port's annual container handling capacity to seven million TEU by 2050.

Meanwhile, the port of Oakland is set to increase its freight handling with the addition of three 300-foot-tall gantry cranes at the Oakland International Container Terminal in 2020.

They will be capable of handling mega-ships up to 1,300 feet long and carrying 23,000 TEU arranged in vertical stacks of 12 on the largest vessels.

Oakland's container movement continues to rise, to 2,546,351 TEU in 2018 from 2,420,937 TEU in 2017, representing year-on-year growth of five per cent.

Despite moving the west coast's largest amount of cargo, the port of Los Angeles saw container traffic increase by just 1.2 per cent in 2018 to 9,458,748 TEU.

That, in part, reflects total tonnage of 194.5 million revenue tonnes, a drop from 198.1 million but still an increase over previous years.

The port of Los Angeles moved 156,091 vehicles in 2018, a drop of 34 per cent compared with 236,956 in 2017. The port handled 905,886 tonnes of scrap metal in 2018 compared with 719,884 tonnes the year before, representing a year-on-year increase of 25.8 per cent.

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