2007: Double-Digit Growth Shows Port Connecting New England to the World
The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) announced that the Port of Boston set records last year for container cargo shipments and cruise passengers at North America’s oldest continuously active port. At Conley Container Terminal combined imports and exports grew by more than 10% over 2006, and at Cruiseport Boston’s Black Falcon Cruise Terminal scheduled cruise passenger traffic grew by 12%.

‘The Port of Boston had a terrific year showing double-digit growth in both cruise and containers,’ said Mike Leone Port Director for Massport. ‘Customers are looking for more cost effective, reliable, and environmentally-friendly ways to move goods, therefore we are starting to see more freight moving by all-water. With respect to cruise passengers, we benefited from a 25% increase in scheduled ship calls and larger vessels. This increased business demonstrates Boston is an attractive destination to connect vacationers with leisure, and a great location to homeport cruise ships.’

In 2006, total container volume at Massport’s Conley Terminal in South Boston was 220,341 TEUs (an industry measurement). Total tonnage was 1,715,680 short tons. The record-breaking volume of containers is fueled by a rise in cargo activity with Asia, which has rocketed since 2002. Also contributing to the growth was the completion of a two-year $28 million upgrade to the terminal. The project, which started in July 2005 and was completed in June 2007, added new equipment, and expanded the capacity of the terminal by 50% even though the 100-acre footprint of the terminal was not changed. The terminal’s improved efficiency allows trucks coming in and out to deliver and receive containers faster. In 2007, ‘turn-time’ at the gate averaged 39 minutes as compared to 56 minutes in 2005.

During the 2007 cruise season, 101 ships called at Black Falcon Cruise Terminal bringing 234,284 passengers to Boston. The cruise season wrapped up in December when Norwegian Cruise Lines’ (NCL) newest ship Norwegian Gem called Boston as her first US port of call on her inaugural crossing from Europe.

The Port’s popularity was highlighted with the announcement of a new 10-year agreement between Norwegian Cruise Lines and the Government of Bermuda designating NCL the exclusive line to sail from Boston to Bermuda. After a 13-year run, the Port of Boston bid ‘bon voyage’ to Norwegian Majesty as she made her final visit in October. Norwegian Dream will begin sailings to Bermuda in 2008 as well as a brand new itinerary of seven-day cruises to Canada/New England. And in 2009, one of NCL’s newest and largest ships, Norwegian Spirit, will sail the Boston-Bermuda itinerary.

The future looks even brighter. Discussions have progressed with Cargo Ventures LLC to build a second cruise terminal, and currently the $35 million, 100,000 square foot project is in its design phase. This effort reflects the continuing and growing popularity of the Port of Boston as a cruise destination.

A recent Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) economic impact study ranked Massachusetts tenth of all states in direct spending by the cruise industry. In 2006 the industry spent $387 million in Massachusetts, and expenditures by the cruise lines, passengers, and their crews generated employment, income, and other economic benefits for the state. The Port of Boston’s vessel and cargo activity supports 34,000 jobs, and contributes more than $2 billion to the local, regional, and national economies through direct, indirect, and induced impact.

The Port of Boston’s imports include: alcoholic beverages, frozen seafood, footwear and furniture. Top exports include: hides and skins, autos, logs and lumber, frozen seafood, recycled paper, and metal ware.

In 2008, 115 ships from 15 major cruise lines are scheduled to call the Port of Boston. They are: AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, Fred Olsen Cruise Line, Hapag Lloyd Cruises, Holland America Line, N