Port of Philadelphia’s 2015 Cargo Figures Indicate Continued Growth

Major Port Milestone: For the First Time, More Than 6 Million Tons of Cargo Handled in a Single Year

Tioga - 2015 Stats

April 8, 2016

Philadelphia, PA –

With the recent compilation of complete cargo-handling figures for 2015, the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) is pleased to report that, for the sixth consecutive year, cargo has grown at the Port of Philadelphia and, for the first time in its history, total cargo tonnage has surpassed 6 million tons.

With 6,092,787 metric tons of cargo handled at the facilities of the Port of Philadelphia in 2015 compared to the 5,951,240 tons handled in 2014, total cargo tonnage at the Port increased by 2.38 percent. Further, when collectively examining cargo figures over the past six years, overall tonnage handled has increased by 68 percent.

“I’m very proud of this Authority and the private terminal operators that work in conjunction with it,” said PRPA Chairman Gerard H. Sweeney. “Our effective public/private partnership, championed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf from the earliest days of his administration, has once again resulted in another year of cargo growth. I’m also especially proud that, for the first time, this Port handled more than 6 million tons of cargo in a single calendar year. Truly, great things have been happening here.”

Highlights last year included the following:

Breakbulk cargoes were the particular standouts in 2015, with overall breakbulk tonnage up 15.64 percent.

Steel, with 423,321 tons handled in 2015 compared to the 395,200 tons handled in 2014, was up 7.12 percent.

Fruit, with 268,319 tons handled in 2015 compared to the 225,294 tons handled the year before, was up 19.10 percent.

Cocoa beans, with 103,121 tons arriving at the Port in 2015 compared to 2014’s 97,688 tons, experienced a 5.56 percent gain. This gain, in conjunction with terminal operator Dependable Distribution Services (DDS) consolidating its regional cocoa cargoes at PRPA’s Pier 84 facility, which DDS operates, has resulted in the Port of Philadelphia now being ranked as the number one cocoa bean-handling port in the nation, according to The Journal of Commerce’s PIERS data service. When considering all cocoa products, the Port of Philadelphia ranks second in the nation.

Forest Products which include high-quality coated paper from Scandinavia used to print magazines and catalogs, and wood pulp from South America used in the manufacture of household items like facial tissues and paper towels, were up a healthy 26.58 percent, with 778,271 tons handled in 2015 compared to the 614,844 tons handled in 2014.

Roll-On/Roll-Off (Ro/Ro) cargoes also had healthy gains in 2015. Ro/Ro cargoes primarily consist of new Hyundai and Kia automobiles that regularly arrive at South Philadelphia’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal from South Korea. Counted as individual units, automobiles were up 3.39 percent, with 155,745 automobiles arriving at the Port in 2015 compared to the 150,637 that arrived in 2014. Counted as tonnage, the increase jumped to 8.18 percent, with 231,016 tons of automobiles moving through the Port in 2015 compared to the 213,546 tons that were handled in 2014.

Containers, with 427,630 TEU’s handled in 2015, and liquid bulk cargoes, with 1,331,772 tons moved last year, both performed at about 2014 levels. When counted as tonnage instead of TEU’s, container tonnage was actually up about one-half percent, with 2,930,050 tons handled in 2015 vs. the 2,916,448 tons moved in 2014.

All tonnage figures related here are in metric tons. Cargo gains in 2015 occurred during a particular busy and dynamic era for the Port of Philadelphia, with the Delaware River 45-foot Channel-Deepening project nearing completion and the Southport Marine Terminal Project now in its RFP phase, which could ultimately result in up to three new business operations at the Port by 2017.

The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) is an independent agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania charged with the management, maintenance, marketing and promotion of publicly owned port facilities along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, as well as strategic planning throughout the port district. PRPA works with its terminal operators to modernize, expand, and improve its facilities, and to market those facilities to prospective port users. Port cargoes and the activities they generate are responsible for thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the Philadelphia area and throughout Pennsylvania.