Port of Philadelphia Cargo Figures Indicate Continued Growth
Cargo volumes handled at the Port of Philadelphia has grown for the sixth consecutive year, and, for the first time in its history, total cargo tonnage surpassed six million tons.
With 6,092,787 metric tons of cargo handled at the facilities of the Port of Philadelphia in 2015 compared to the 5,951,240 tons handled in 2014, total cargo tonnage at the Port increased by 2.38 percent. Further, when collectively examining cargo figures over the past six years, overall tonnage handled has increased by 68 percent.
“Our public/private partnership, championed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf from the earliest days of his administration, has once again resulted in another year of cargo growth,” said Gerard H. Sweeney, chairman of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA).
Breakbulk cargoes were the particular standouts in 2015, with overall breakbulk tonnage up 15.64 percent. Among other highlights, steel was up 7.12 percent, fruit was up 19.10 percent, and cocoa beans experienced a 5.56-percent gain.
The increase in cocoa beans resulted in the Port of Philadelphia now being ranked as the number-one cocoa bean port in the nation. When considering all cocoa products, the Port of Philadelphia ranks second in the nation.
Forest products, which include coated paper from Scandinavia and wood pulp from South America were up 26.58 percent.
Ro/ro cargoes also had healthy gains in 2015. Automobiles were up 3.39 percent, with 155,745 automobiles arriving at the Port in 2015 compared to the 150,637 that arrived in 2014. Counted as tonnage, the increase jumped to 8.18 percent. Ro/ro cargoes primarily consist of new Hyundai and Kia automobiles that regularly arrive at South Philadelphia’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal from South Korea.
Containers, with 427,630 TEU’s handled in 2015, and liquid bulk cargoes, with 1,331,772 tons moved last year, both performed at about 2014 levels.
Cargo gains in 2015 occurred during a particular busy and dynamic era for the Port of Philadelphia, with the Delaware River 45-foot channel-deepening project nearing completion and the Southport Marine Terminal Project now in its RFP phase, which could ultimately result in up to three new business operations at the port by 2017.