Massport reaps benefits of Asia trade and sees dividends from Conley Terminal upgrade.

The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) announced the Port of Boston’s container terminal is the busiest it has ever been. In 2006, total container volume at Massport’s Conley Terminal in South Boston surpassed 200,000 teus (an industry measurement). This year, the 100-acre facility is on pace to eclipse that mark, with 181,984 teus moved in the first 10 months of the year.

The record-breaking volume of containers is fueled by a rise in cargo activity with Asia. Container volume on that route has rocketed by more than 400 percent increase since 2002. Since July 1, total Asian import and export growth was up 41 percent from the same four months in 2006. Overall container growth at Conley Terminal was up 21 percent year over year in the same four months.

The containers are being processed with record-breaking speed because of a two-year $28 million upgrade to Conley Container Terminal. The project, which started in July 2005 and was completed in June, expanded the capacity of the terminal by 50% even though the 100-acre footprint of the terminal was not changed.

Recently, trucks coming in and out of Conley Terminal have shattered benchmarks in delivering and receiving containers. In the four months since the project’s completion, ‘turn-time’ at the gate has averaged 36 minutes as compared to 58 minutes in July, August, September, and October 2005.

The two-year $28 million upgrade for Conley included reconfiguring the terminal with a new layout that allows higher and wider container stacks. The addition of eight, new Rubber Tire Gantry cranes (RTGs) and four other machines to handle empty containers also helped increase efficiency. Additional improvements to the terminal included new reinforced pavement and painted markings, and the implementation of new drainage and lighting.

‘Since the completion of the Conley Terminal project, the New England trade community has enjoyed much improved performance,’ said Mike Leone Port Director for Massport. ‘By upgrading our fleet of container handling equipment and reconfiguring the terminal, we are now able to provide better, faster service to our customers and accommodate our continuing growth.’

‘Since the upgrade of Conley Terminal, there has been a noticeable improvement of getting our trucks in and out faster,’ said Tony Bognanno, President of Bonney’s Express, Inc, a Boston-based trucking company. ‘This results in cost and time savings to company drivers and owner/operators. And it results in the ability to deliver a customer’s inventory to them more quickly.’

The Port of Boston’s vessel and cargo activity support 34,000 jobs, and contribute more than $2 billion to the local, regional, and national economies through direct, indirect, and induced impact.

The Port of Boston is the oldest continually active major port in the Western Hemisphere and is the largest port serving New England. Top imports include: alcoholic beverages, frozen seafood, footwear and furniture. Top exports include: hides and skins, autos, logs and lumber, frozen seafood, paper and paper ware including waste paper, and metal ware.