Northeast Ports 2005 - Port Of Boston

By: | at 08:00 PM | Channel(s): Ports & Terminals  

Heckled by history and measured against mega-ports, the Port of Boston has an image, like the pre-World Champion Red Sox, of always coming up short. But as last year’s numbers prove, there is nothing lacking in the port’s performance as New England’s top boxport.By George Lauriat, Editor-in-Chief, AJOTIt’s quintessentially Bostonian. Nothing good has happened in the Port of Boston Harbor since tea was thrown into the harbor. Ask any local denizen about how things are going with the Port and you are likely to hear a litany that starts with a saga about the lack of labor productivity, and ends with a tale about missed opportunities, mixed with questionable management. It’s difficult to shake the image: it’s Bucky Dent’s homer, Bill Buckner’s error, phantom tags, bad calls and a sense that things are preordained to go bad in the home of the bean and the cod. As last year proved in baseball, however, things can change. And things are going very well… very well indeed for the Port of Boston.
The numbers don’t lie. In 2004, loaded import teus were up 12% and loaded export teus were up 15%. Total teus topped 170,000 in 2004, up nearly nine percent over the year before. Productivity also improved. The Port recorded a net average of 22-26 container moves per hour. Even truck processing has improved at Conley Container Terminal. The facility set a record with an average of 753 moves per day for the week of October 18-22, 2004, surpassing the previous record of 740 moves per day set October 19-23 of 1998. The turn times for the record setting week averaged less than fifty minutes.
Massport’s maritime director, Mike Leone, explained, “Realignment [Massport once ran two box terminals but has since combined the operation] has improved productivity, we have a sort of one-stop shopping that solidifies performance which is measured against a set of metrics. With these metrics, we try to understand and satisfy our customer needs.”
The port’s main steamship line customers posted very good numbers in 2004. The Far East steamship alliance of China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) and its partners, “K”-Line, Yang Ming and Hanjin Shipping Lines (CKYH) which began direct inbound calls three years ago, moved 60,228 teus through Conley Container Terminal in 2004. This was a 46% increase over the 41,225 teus moved in 2003.
“Dropping the Norfolk call [which reportedly will be handled by a separate service] is so important because it gives the port a greater allocation of space on the [CKYH] service,” Leone said. He continued, “The all-water service gives shippers more certainty and that encourages the shippers even more to use the service…you can see that [the trend] in the tremendous increase in trade with China and the Far East.”
The vessel capacity on the CKYH service is 3,400 teus per ship, with a maximum split from Asia: COSCO 1,590 teus; Hanjin 700 teus; K-Line 518 teus; and Yang Ming Line 592 teus. However, the allocation is often by region rather than port to port. In the case of Boston, the number of available slots can vary according to earlier calls. Strangely, this can mean that an inbound box can be offloaded in New York/New Jersey on to the container barge service with the box following the course of the very ship that originally offloaded the box in NY/NJ to the Port of Boston for final discharge.
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), which has called the Port of Boston for 17 years, added a second weekly vessel call in Boston in May of 2003. When comparing a six month period, from July to December of 2004, with the same period in 2003, MSC reported a 46% increase. During this time, throughput rose to 13,449 teus in 2004 from 9,216 teus in 2003. MSC’s slot charter partner in the service is CMA-CGM.
The Port of Boston is connected to the Port of New York/New Jersey via barge container service, and is connected to Halifax, Nova Scotia by container feeder ship. Columbia Coastal Transport’s container barge service, reported a six percent jump in volume, to 32,196 teus in 2004, f

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American Journal of Transportation