Maine’s biggest port racks up busy year

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PORTLAND (AP) – Despite a slight drop in oil shipments last year, Portland remained the largest port in New England in terms of overall tonnage and the largest oil port on the East Coast, its port director said Tuesday.

Figures compiled by the Army Corps of Engineers also show Portland to be the nation’s 25th largest port and the largest when measured by incoming cargo destined for another location, Jeffrey Monroe said.

The port handled 29.9 million tons last year, down from 30.4 million in 2004, according to Monroe, who noted that “oil is about 99 percent” of the total. He said 95 percent of the oil is crude, which is shipped by pipeline to refineries in Montreal.

Oil shipments totaled 191.1 million barrels, down from 193.4 million in 2004.

There were 662 vessels in port last year, up from 545 the year before. Non-liquid bulk cargo dropped from 723,678 tons to 651,311 tons but the number of containers more than doubled, to 2,200, because of a six-month halt to containerized cargo handling during 2004.

The number of cruise ship calls dropped from 30 to 29, but the number of passengers rose from 43,528 to 45,225.

“We’re getting bigger ships,” Monroe said.

AP-ES-05-02-06 1529EDT

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