GULF OF MEXICO'S WESTERN PORTS REGISTER 10 PERCENT INCREASE IN CARGO

GULF OF MEXICO'S WESTERN PORTS REGISTER 10 PERCENT INCREASE IN CARGO

The pace picked up at 10 ports in the west Gulf in the latest three-month period, their association reported Tuesday.

Shipments of bagged goods like flour and rice rose sharply while bulk cargoes such as petroleum, chemicals and grain also increased in the third quarter for nine Texas ports and the Port of Lake Charles, La., the West Gulf Maritime Association said.This led to a 10 percent rise in total tonnage at the 10 ports, to 64.7 million tons from 58.8 million tons in the third quarter of last year, the association said.

In the first nine months, the ports moved 185.5 million tons, or 4 percent more than the 178.1 million tons of a year before.

Container tonnage fell in the third quarter but posted a net gain for the nine-month period.

Bagged goods, the smallest category in tonnage, rose 70 percent in the latest quarter, to 543,529 tons from 320,514 tons for the same period in 1992. They rose 41 percent in the first nine months, to 1.43 million tons from 1.01 million tons a year earlier.

The largest category, bulk cargo, rose 9 percent to 61 million tons in the quarter from 55.9 million tons a year earlier. They rose 4 percent to 175.7 million tons from 169.2 million tons for the nine months ended Sept. 30.

Container tonnage fell 4 percent in the third quarter to 1.34 million tons

from 1.4 million tons a year earlier. However, in the first nine months, container tonnage rose 2 percent to 4.12 million tons from 4.04 million tons for the comparable 1992 period.

The West Gulf Maritime Association represents 77 maritime companies in the Texas ports of Beaumont, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Freeport, Galveston, Houston, Orange, Port Arthur and Texas City, plus the Port of Lake Charles, La.