2010 port report

by Array

MM&D MAGAZINE, JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011:

Confirmed and preliminary results show Canada’s major seaports weathered the storm that was 2009.

Yes, 2009 was a tough year. And it showed in that year’s port statistics. But Canada’s ocean ports are showing signs of having weathered one of the worst financial crises in decades. The 2010 results prove it.

The Port of Prince Rupert, for instance, recorded its strongest cargo volumes ever in 2010. Even in 2009, the port wasn’t affected by the downturn, reporting a 12-year high in cargo volumes that year. But in 2010 the port handled a record 16,424,512 tonnes of cargo—that’s up 35 percent over 2009 volumes and the first time it has surpassed 13 million tonnes since 1997.

The port says strong growth in coal volumes through Ridley Terminals Inc and continued growth in container volumes at the Fairview Container Terminal drove the increased cargo volumes.

The Port Metro Vancouver also saw sunnier figures in 2010. The port said it achieved record-breaking volumes in key sectors and a total tonnage increase of 16 percent, delivering 118.4 million tonnes overall. Its 2010 year-end report also shows that container traffic set an all-time record at 2.5 million TEUs. That’s up 17 percent, as demand for imported consumer goods continued and container exports returned to Asia with forest products and special crops. The total foreign tonnage increased 18 percent to 93.3 million tonnes, with increased foreign exports to growing Asian economies continuing to lead the way.

The Port of Montreal says it handled 1,331,351 TEUs in 2010—that’s up 6.8 percent compared to 2009. As well, the port handled 8,151,136 tonnes of liquid bulk, 3,204,076 tonnes of dry bulk and 2,380,863 tonnes of grain.

The Port of Quebec also entered calmer waters. The port said it anticipates its total annual tonnage to rise by 10 percent over last year, from 22.1 million tonnes to 24.3 million tonnes. This represents the third-best results in the port’s history after the record years of 2007 and 2008. The port said the strong resurgence of shipments of certain types of dry bulk cargo, such as iron and its derivatives, metallurgical coke, grains and fertilizers, has largely contributed to this increase.

Over on the East Coast, the Port of Halifax said its containerized cargo grew 26 percent over 2009. The port’s total throughput was 435,461 TEUs, versus 344,811 TEUs in 2009. Every cargo category (containerized, breakbulk and roll-on/roll-off)—with the exception of bulk cargo—saw growth in 2010. The port says continued sluggishness in bulk cargo throughput was due to the weak US economy, which showed less demand for oil and gypsum.