West Coast Ports Enjoy Record Cargo Growth

No surprise. For both ports the continuing surge in cargo traffic is driven by a continuing North American demand for products manufactured in Asia as well as larger vessels to carry cargo containers. Newer ships have capacities of 8,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units).

Nearly 7.29 million containers moved through Long Beach, an increase of 8.7% year over year. There were increases in both import and export activity. Up 11.2% to 3.7 million TEU, were imports. Exports climbed 5.7% to 1.3 million TEU. Asian demand for raw materials to turn into manufactured goods helped grow exports. However, movement of empty containers to be filled with finished products and ultimately returned grew by 6.4% to 2.3 million TEU.

A sharp rise in canola exports—up 48% year over year--helped boost volume figures for the Port of Vancouver. Reasons for such growth in canola, according to the Port, include strong harvests and high global oilseed demand. “Canada enjoyed strong growth in most commodities in 2006, with continued high Asian demand for Canadian exports,” says George Adams, chairman of the Vancouver Port Authority. “This trend is expected to continue in 2007.”

For the year, trade grew 4% to 79.3 tonnes and container traffic at 2.2 million TEU. Some specific areas of growth included export of forest products to China, up 25% to 2.2 million tonnes. Japan—Vancouver’s largest trading partner--took 3% and South Korea 9% more forest products in 2006.

Though crude petroleum volumes were not as high as expected during the first three quarters of the year, outbound volumes of crude oil to the United States grew 142% in November. Toward the end of 2006 U.S. refineries increased demands in order to keep their inventory levels high, all of which benefit the Port of Vancouver.

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