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May16, 2016

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www.joc.com THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE 27 Q: WHAT NORTH AMERICAN ports led in combined outbound and inbound container trade growth in 2015? The fastest-g rowing port in North America in 2015 was Altamira, the north- ern-most major Mexican container port on the Gulf of Mexico, where volume grew 16 percent year-over-year. Prince Rupert, British Columbia, followed in the No. 2 spot with 14.3 percent year-over-year con- tainer growth. Rounding out double-digit growth in 2015 total trade were the ports of Miami at 13.4 percent and New Orleans, 10.4 percent. Collectively, Mexican ports led the North American container trade in 2015 with 5.1 percent year-over-year growth, followed by Canadian ports, up 4.1 percent. U.S. ports trailed with 0.8 percent growth. Together, volumes advanced 1.6 percent at North America ports. U.S. West Coast congestion, particu- larly in late 2014 and into the first quarter of 2015, crippled cargo flow, forcing doz- ens of ships to anchor off the West Coast. By Marsha Salisbury MEXICAN, CANADIAN PORTS LEAD GROWTH Aided by the West Coast labor debacle, Altamira and Prince Rupert were the two fastest-growing North American ports in 2015 FOR THE SECOND consecutive year, none of the U.S. ports on the Pacific Coast achieved double-digit growth or even made the Top 10 fastest-growing ports among the JOC Top 25 North American container ports in 2015. This wasn't a surprise. The numbers show the importance of labor stability and port performance in directing growth or decline in container port market share and, significantly, shippers' intent to route their goods through the path of least resistance. terminal this month. The new cranes will be able to handle ships with 22 containers across. The port is building an $11 million on-dock rail ramp at Hookers Point that will be oper- ated by CSX Transportation. It's also building a cold storage facility at Hookers Point that will handle refrigerated imports of fresh fruit from Central America and exports. TEXAS PORTS PREPARE FOR BREAKBULK GROWTH Smaller ports in Texas are gearing up to handle the increase in breakbulk cargo they see coming their way. Corpus Christi is in the second phase of a 10-year project to deepen the La Quinta Ship Channel to 52 feet from 45 feet. It's working with the Army Corps to get the $360 million proj- ect in the Obama administration's budget for 2017. "If we don't get in next year's budget, we'll be making the push for 2018," said John LaRue, the port's executive director. "That will help us with oil exports, which we think will be important for the future." The Por t of Brow nsv ille pla ns to deepen its ship channel to 52 feet from its current 42 feet. The Army Corps rec- ommended that depth last year, but the project wasn't authorized for f unding under the 2015 Water Resources Devel - opment Act. The port is working with the corps on design and engineering of the project so it can get it going quickly once it receives federal approval and funding. The port, which recorded a 21 percent increase in the tonnage of bulk, liquid bulk and breakbulk cargoes moving by water, rail and truck last year, stands to become a major port for export of liquefied natural gas if the Federal Energy Commis- sion approves construction of three LNG plants proposed for construction around the port. The plants, which involve investment of $12 billion in their first phase alone, would be built to liquefy natural gas from the Eagle Ford shale fields for export to Asia in huge LNG tankers that would transit the new locks at the Panama Canal. "We see that as a huge opportunity for us and it would obviously benefit Panama as well," said Eduardo Campirano, port direc- tor and CEO of the Port of Brownsville. JOC Contact Peter T. Leach at peter.leach@ihs.com and follow him on Twitter: @petertleach.

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