Northeast Ports 2005 - Connecticut Ports 2005

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Connecticut’s deepwater ports of Bridgeport, New London and New Haven each provide a special cargo handling niche that complements the whole.By George Lauriat, Editor in Chief, AJOTConnecticut’s three deepwater ports handle a variety of breakbulk cargoes destined for use within the Northeast region. As Barry Whelan, Regional Manager for Logistec, the company that manages the three ports, explained in an interview with the AJOT, “The niche each port fills, complements the others…Bridgeport might provide service for reefer cargo while New Haven and New London handle project cargo or steel. We can offer a diversity of services close to both the New York/tri-State market and just down 95 from Providence (RI) and Boston.”
Bridgeport has a steady business handling inbound fruit. Turbanna imports bananas and seasonally, clemintines, in break/reefer ships. The bananas are shipped on pallets. Turbana operates two discharge facilities in the US, Bridgeport and Gulfport, Mississippi. Bridgeport handles the majority of Turbana’s total imports. Isabella Shipping, a wholly owned subsidiary of Unibán, transports Turbana fruit to the North American market on refrigerated vessels from the Port of Turbo in Colombia. In the United States Isabella Shipping is represented by Interoceanica Agency. The rotation of the service is Bridgeport, Cartegena (Colombia) and on to the main port of Turbo (Colombia). Outbound the ships carry a small amount of kraftliner board to Central America. For new business, the much talked about container barge service connecting the Port to New York/New Jersey might still become a reality. “A tender was due in mid-February, but we haven’t seen the results,” Whelan said of the proposed service.
Generally, the three ports are predominately inbound-heavy, according to Whelan. For example, the Port of New London, has been very busy with imports of lumber from North Europe. Lumber is generally shipped from one of the German ports such as Bremen/Bremerhaven. The lumber is sourced from countries like Austria and Poland, to name a few. The Port also regularly handles plywood shipments from Brazil. Additionally, New London receives lumber shipments via rail service from Eastern Canada. Besides lumber, the Port also regularly handles shipments of copper from Brazil.
Even a cursory inspection of the Port’s grounds reveals that storage is very tight. “We have no space adjacent to the Port to grow, so we have to truck with fairly quick turnaround times,” Whelan explains.
Lumber shipments have continued to roll into the port despite the weakening US dollar. Whelan says that most of the lumber is destined to be used in the regional home building/construction market. That segment of the New England economy has been strong for close to a decade, with record new home buildings and new homes sales fueling the real estate market. With the Spring building season, that could mean even stronger volumes in the near future.
The Port of New Haven is equipped with multi-purpose shore cranes which enables the port to handle ships lacking ship-based cranes. Among the cargoes the port handles is steel. “Last year was a great year, we expect that 2005 will be a little flat just because last years’ volumes were so good,” Whelan said. The port also handles zinc and copper. Most of the steel is from Europe. Forecasting the supply and demand for steel is a little difficult, since China’s impact as both an importer and exporter of steel tends to sway the market.
While the port is doing very well, Whelan is looking for other cargoes and opportunities. “We just had our first wood pulp call. The wood pulp was from Sweden…we hope that the small volumes develop into a long-term business,” Whelan added.
In some ways the three ports are at a disadvantage, often being the first call inbound. With a number of calls South, like Baltimore, it is difficult to find just the right export cargo to fit the vessels’ rotation. Nevertheless, Connecticut ports have enjoyed success being something a little diffe

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American Journal of Transportation