Total cargo through the Port of Hamilton during the 2013 shipping season was 10,024,418 tonnes, on par with 2012 (10.3 million MT) and 2011 (10.0 million MT).
Agricultural commodities (grain and fertilizer) have grown steadily since 2009; and 2013 continued that trend, with port terminals posting a 13 per cent increase in grain tonnage in 2013 (compared to 2012), and a 2 per cent increase in fertilizer tonnage over 2012. Grain handled at Hamilton’s port terminals includes more than 1.3 million MT of soybeans, canola, wheat and corn, most of it grown by southern Ontario farmers for export to global markets. “We have seen Port of Hamilton emerge as a critical link in Ontario’s agricultural economy, and our growing tonnages reflect the value we provide to the hardworking agricultural producers throughout the region,” said Bruce Wood, President & CEO of Hamilton Port Authority (HPA).
In addition to agricultural goods, tonnage increases were seen in other commodities, such as iron ore, salt and gasoline, offsetting decreases in coal, coke and finished steel. “We’ve been seeing changes in the steel sector starting to show through in our cargo makeup,” said Bruce Wood. “It’s not a surprise — we have spent the last five years proactively diversifying our cargo, so we have been able to balance these challenges with areas of strong growth.”
HPA is also seeing a greater volume of cargo transit the port by rail, with 540 more rail cars visiting the port in 2013, bringing the year’s total to just over 3,800 cars. “We are working closely with our tenants to understand their need for increased rail capacity and storage,” said Bruce Wood. In its drive to offer full service transportation and modal choice to its users, HPA is putting infrastructure in place to allow cargo to move seamlessly between marine, rail and truck, depending on what is most efficient for the customer on a given shipment. “We’re making sure our customers have access to the right mode, at the right time,” said Wood.
Outlook for 2014
Port officials are optimistic for 2014, based on a positive outlook for the regional and national economy. Port of Hamilton is a key competitive asset for southern Ontario’s advanced manufacturing sector and as that sector picks up steam, the port is able to help local companies compete, by providing efficient and direct access to global markets. The port currently handles a wide variety of made-in-Ontario manufactured goods, such as power plant components, windmill components, and construction equipment.