Philadelphia container volume up 29 percent

Philadelphia container volume up 29 percent

Container volume at the Port of Philadelphia jumped 29 percent during the first half of the year, aided by two new services and a continuing shift of breakbulk to containers for shipments of imported fruit.

The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority said container volume from January to June totaled 219,060 20-foot-equivalent units, compared with 168,820 TEUs a year earlier. Containerized cargo during the first half of 2014 totaled 1.4 million metric tons, a 19 percent increase.

The agency said the port is on track for its fifth consecutive year of double-digit cargo growth.

The first-half results reflect a full six months of Horizon Lines’ Puerto Rico service, which transferred to Philadelphia last year from New York-New Jersey, and the addition of a new West Coast service of Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM.

The increases also reflect the increased use of containers for fruit imports by carriers such as NYK Line, a port authority spokesman said.

Breakbulk cargoes through the port’s public facilities increased almost 13 percent, largely because of steel and forest products. Steel shipments totaled 194,519 tons, a 67 percent increase from a year earlier. Shipments of lumber, woodpulp, high-quality paper and other forest products increased 14 percent, to 240,183 tons. Breakbulk shipments of fruit (118,861 tons) and cocoa beans (72,747 tons) were flat with last year.

Vehicle shipments increased 6 percent, to 72,722 units. The port’s automobile imports are dominated by Hyundai and Kia vehicles from South Korea.

Contact Joseph Bonney at jbonney@joc.com and follow him on Twitter: @josephbonney.