January 29, 2016 11:55 AM, EST
Rising Cargo Volume Straining US Ports, AAPA Says
Tim Rue/Bloomberg News

The volume of cargo moving through U.S. ports increased 3.1% in 2014 compared with the prior year, buoyed by a rise in exports and gains in shipping along inland waterways and in the Great Lakes region, the American Association of Port Authorities reported Jan. 29 based on an analysis of the latest data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Freight volumes reached a three-year high of 2.35 billion short tons in 2014, with exports setting a record for the fifth year in a row at 747.8 million tons in 2014, an increase of 3.7% over the prior year.

Imports rose for the first time since 2010 to 760.9 million tons in 2014, a modest 0.3% rise compared with 2013.

“These figures tell us that America’s farm goods, raw materials and manufactured products continue to compete globally in 2014, while manufacturing and industrial interests, farmers and retail consumers here in the U.S. rekindled demand for imports,” said Kurt Nagle, president of AAPA, a trade association representing 150 port authorities in the United States, Canada, Caribbean and Latin America.

“While this is positive news for the American economy,” Nagle added, “the increased demand for goods places added strain on our already-overtaxed freight transportation system, much of which is used to move cargo to and from our ports.”

Data in the report include dry and liquid bulk, break bulk, automobiles and containers.