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  April 15th, 2014 | Written by


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Deborah Hadden, Port Director, Massachusetts Port Authority

FTZ No. 37 • 130 total acres • two berths • 280,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space • 45-ft. channel

Highways: I-93, I-90

Top export destinations: Mediterranean, North Europe, China/Japan

Top export commodities: Waste Paper, Scrap Metal, Hides


SHIP IT OUT FROM BOSTON Port of Boston, known more commonly as Massport, says it gets trucks turned around in about 30 minutes on average.
SHIP IT OUT FROM BOSTON Port of Boston, known more commonly as Massport, says it gets trucks turned around in about 30 minutes on average.


Deborah Hadden: I think one of the biggest things about our container terminal and our operations are how quickly we can turn around trucks at our terminal, whether they’re picking up cargo or they’re dropping off cargo to be exported. My understanding is we’re around 30 minutes for truck turnaround versus New York Port, which you’re typically well over an hour. Once we get our customers off the terminal and onto the road, we have easy access to two major highways heading north and south, away from the city, which I think is unique. A lot of ports, I hate to use New York/New Jersey again, but their roads are very congested and so it’s very hard to get the cargo in and out. I think that’s one of our big selling points to our customers. We’ve actually had a number of accounts come back to Boston for this reason, that it’s just they couldn’t get in and out of other terminals.

Some of [the fast turnaround time] is the system that we have for the trucks, the way they pull up at the gate, and we have a resolution center if there’s a piece of paperwork that you’re missing. That can tie you up for quite awhile, but we have a very efficient resolution process, where that’s right at the gate. We plan where we put the containers on the terminal so that they are easy to find and pick up, again to get in and out quickly.

Global Trade: What are your core efficiencies? Are you primarily a container port?

Deborah Hadden: We have some bulk. Well, obviously in our container terminal it’s pretty much all [containers]. Occasionally we get some project cargo at our container terminal, but other than that it’s all containerized cargo there. We have a privately run operation that handles auto imports and exports as well as some bulk cargo, like road salt. We have a facility that handles import of cement at the non-Massport property. There are a number of other salt facilities and petroleum-related facilities. Our container terminal is the only full service container terminal in New England.

Global Trade: What things would make it full service?

Deborah Hadden: The ability to have refrigerated cargo, repair services for chassis and for the boxes, the containers. Warehouses nearby; we have a couple of large warehouse facilities within one mile of the container terminal.

Global Trade: With your channel depth and cranes, are you ready for the Post-Panamax ships?

Deborah Hadden: Right now we are handling some Post-Panamax ships. We have six ship-to-shore cranes. Right now we have a 40-foot channel and 45 feet in our berth. One of the advantages that we have in Boston is that we have a tidal swing of almost 10 feet, so the larger ships can ride in that need more than 40 feet. Because we deepened our berth deeper to 45 feet, they can ride the tide at the berth, so we can be bringing bigger ships than you would think when you’re just 40 feet. We are actively working with the Army Corps of Engineers. We have a project that’s been submitted for the WRDA Bill [Water Resources Development Act] that Congress is looking to vote on in the very near future, hopefully. That would get us up to—well, we would be able to handle ships that drop 50 feet with that new project done. We will need to get some bigger cranes to handle the larger ships, because they’re taller and we need to build to reach out farther. Our container terminal, unfortunately, is across from an airport so we have to be very sensitive not to have any of our cranes encroach in the protected airspace.

Global Trade: I bet you get a ton of regulation on that.

Deborah Hadden: Well, less regulation and more that you just have to have low profile cranes, which cost about 20 percent more than a crane would otherwise cost.

Global Trade: So you’re already handling some Post-Panamax ships. How many containers across are your current cranes able to reach?

Deborah Hadden: I think it’s 14 and 17. We have two different dimensioned cranes. We are finally recovering from the Great Recession and our volumes are increasing again, which is great to say we’re on year-over-year growth for a couple of years.

Global Trade: So you’ve been getting that for the last couple years then?

Deborah Hadden: Yes.

Global Trade: Congratulations on that. I’m sure you’re sleeping better.

Deborah Hadden: Yeah, much better.

I guess I just wanted to mention a couple kind of interesting export cargos. One that’s interesting was one of our top exports: hides. They’re coming from up in northern New England. And then when we were talking about import/export ratio, what I find interesting about that, like I said we do have a fair amount of export cargo, most of it is waste paper or cardboard and what I find interesting about that is, we have particularly on the ships that are going to Asia, that’s where we’re exporting all of our waste paper and cardboard so that it can get sent to China so they can make more boxes to package stuff to come back to the United States, [to] Boston. It’s like a cargo circle of life, and it’s good for the shipping lines because they’re not going back with empty boxes. So when we think of the shipping lines as our customers, that’s something that’s really important for them to know, is that they’re going to not have a ship going back with a bunch of empty containers. Another interesting thing is one of our top exporters of recycled paper is the Kraft family that owns the New England Patriots. Not many people know that, and [Robert] Kraft himself was really instrumental in helping us get the Far East service because he came and he gave the head of Costco a Patriots jersey and really lobbied them with us, marketed to them to get Costco to start this new service. Now it’s been here over 10 years, but you think it’s a great story. As far as full imports for containerized cargo, TEUs is 98,154 for 2013, calendar year. Exports containers full is 66,204. And then for hides, there are 1,135 TEUs.