The South Jersey Port Corporation (SJPC) reported new record tonnage at its facilities during 2005 as combined cargoes at the Ports of Camden and Salem surpassed 3.5 million tons, spurred by significant increases in bulk and containerized cargoes.

Total cargoes, including both exports and imports, reached 3,555,549 tons in 2005, an increase of 3.5% over cargoes totaling 3,433,036 tons in 2004. This marks the third consecutive record cargo year for the ports of the SJPC. In 2005 the leading commodities in terms of tonnage were cement, steel, scrap, wood products and Grancem’. Containerized tonnage both in and out of the ports grew from 145,205 tons in 2004 to 305,336 tons in 2004.

The totals represent 2.281 million cargo tons at the Beckett Street Terminal and 1.184 million cargo tons at the Broadway Terminal of the Port of Camden, and nearly 90,000 cargo tons at the Port of Salem.

‘The SJPC had a great year in 2005,’ said Executive Director Joseph A. Balzano, who noted, ‘We brought important new infrastructure on line last year and immediately began to see a dividend from increased business.’ Balzano said key new port infrastructure includes the newly constructed Pier 1A at the Broadway Terminal and the Kocks heavy lift crane installed to serve the pier.

The SJPC executive director said, ‘We continue to see important growth in key bulk and breakbulk cargoes like cocoa beans and wood products and are maintaining high tonnage volume in other important cargoes like steel, fruit, sand and scrap. The continuing increase in our business underscores the need for more maritime facilities in South Jersey like the port the SJPC will develop at Paulsboro.’

The record tonnage results were achieved despite a dip in the number of ships that called at the ports from 401 in 2004 to 337 last year. Ship days, the number of days that ships were in port, totaled 884 in 2005 compared to 948 during 2004. Handling more cargo with fewer ships and ship days speaks of improved operations and ship production among other related elements.

Import tonnage totaled 2.470 million tons in 2005 compared to 2.664 million tons in 2004 while export tonnage rose from 768,538 tons in 2004 to 994,905 tons last year.

Cocoa bean imports continued the significant growth experience for the commodity over the past several years, with total cocoa bean tonnage of 132,284 tons in 2005, a 58 percent year-to-year increase.

Year to year comparisons for other major cargo tonnages were:

Cargo 2004 2005

Cement 740,936 788,840*

Steel 555,293 442,584

Scrap Metal 527,208 624,102

Wood Products 520,829 427,280

Fruit 486,337 349,579

Grancem’ 231,687 298,852

Cocoa Beans 83,907 132,284*

(Numbers represented in short tons / * denotes port record)/

Other commodities handled at the ports during 2005 included iron ore,

pyrite, rubber and vermiculite.