A niche port in New England has it figured out

Massport's links to Asia are well established, but what is perhaps less well known is its diversification.

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As the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) was bracing itself for Hurricane Irene late last month, its executive director shared some of the plans in place for growth in 2012 and beyond.

“Given our proximity to the airport and greater Boston community, we have several niche advantages,” said Mike Leone, Massport’s executive port director. “The sea-air handoff is one that is easily identified,” he said. “And the our local distribution network to the greater cosmopolitan area is another.”

As noted in an earlier LM news story, Massport’s investment in The New England-Halifax Shuttle also provides New England shippers with a vital connection to Eastern Canada’s main cargo transfer hub.

“Over the last decade, we have invested millions in capital improvements,” added Leone. “Most recently in 2008, and a at a cost of almost $20 million, we acquired an adjacent 30-acre parcel of land next to Conley Terminal. This will give use more container storage options.”

Conley Terminal is served twice weekly by Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) with North Europe and Mediterranean direct services; weekly by China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) and its vessel sharing partners, “K” Line, Yang Ming Line, and Hanjin providing direct service between Boston and ports in China and Japan; weekly by Hanjin and its vessel sharing partners, COSCO, Yang Ming Line and Hyundai merchant Marine providing direct service between Boston and ports in southern China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Singapore.

“So our links to Asia are well established,” said Leone. “What is perhaps less well known is our diversification. We handle nearly 13 million metric tons of containerized and bulk cargo including petroleum, natural gas gypsum, and salt.”

The balance of inbound and outbound goods is also impressive. According to the spokesmen, top containerized imports include beer and wine; furniture; frozen seafood; spirits and toys. Top containerized exports include paper (including waste paper); auto; foam waste; hides; skin; logs and lumber.

“On the reefer side, we compete to some extent with the Port Philadelphia,” said Leone. “But we are really trying to carve out a niche of our own that can be sustainable and attractive to carriers for years to come.”


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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