Port of Buffalo expected to hit its best season in 10 years

THE Port of Buffalo is expected to hit its best season in a decade, reports the American Journal of Commerce

09 November 2020 - 19:00
THE Port of Buffalo is expected to hit its best season in a decade, reports the American Journal of Commerce.

In early September, the Port of Buffalo saw 15 vessels to the port with more scheduled to arrive throughout the rest of the navigation season.

Seeing new commodities to the port is done because of unique business opportunities and partnerships, both of which have been key for the Port of Buffalo's success throughout 2020. Commodities included are sugar, wind turbines, and salt.

'Projects that we've been working on for years have finally come to fruition. We've expanded the realm of everybody's projects here by offering as much as we can whether it's trans-loading, warehousing, rail or dock-side service, and even long-term storage,' said the Port Director at Port of Buffalo Patricia C Schreiber.

The Port's sugar business began in fall 2019 after Ms Schreiber sought a new terminal customer shipping sugar to the Great Lakes region with the port's 40,000 square foot warehouse.

'We were able to develop this new partnership because we're a one-stop-shop with certified weigh scales and the ability to bring in material via vessel and out by either train or truck,' said Ms Schreiber.

'We were and continue to be responsible for offloading bags of sugar from the vessel, stacking them into our warehouse, and scaling our customer's trucks for shipping,' said Ms Schreiber.

'This year, our customer decided that they were only going to ship organic sugar. So, we created a custom solution on their behalf. To handle the organic sugar shipments, we decided to certify the Port of Buffalo as an organic port,' said Ms Schreiber.

To do this, the Port worked with a broker to conduct uncompromising inspections ensuring the port followed the rules of handling organic cargos. Afterward, the customer brought in one organic sugar vessel out of Argentina.

'Right after we unloaded that vessel, they decided that they wanted to bring in two more consecutive shipments. The second shipment was another bulk vessel, but the third shipment that they sent was 16,000 metric tonnes of bagged sugar. So, we unloaded them and stacked them seven bags high in our warehouse,' said Ms Schreiber.

The shipments of organic sugar began at the start of April 2020 and have been steady for the port since.

Meanwhile, as people have seen throughout the Great Lakes to St Lawrence Seaway System, international shipments of wind energy components are taking off, with the Port of Buffalo as well.

'Wind turbines are long-term bids. The process starts out about two years before the project itself comes in. But our hard work paid off. This year, we've been handling multiple shipments of wind turbines. To us, that means a full dock for the season. It's kept us busy all the way into fall,' said Ms Schreiber.

This season, a total of five vessels carried wind turbines from Germany and Korea to the port.

With winter coming up, shipments of salt have been heavily sought after since salt is used to keep roads and highways from icing during winter months.

'We won the Erie County Highway contract this year. Our port stores the highway salt for the county and, then, we'll load and weigh the salt for the for the municipalities that pick it up and any contractors that would like to purchase it,' said Ms Schreiber.

The port will receive 200,000 tonnes of salt and in early September, they handled three shipments of salt and are expecting six more through the rest of the 2020 navigation season.

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