Cargo tonnage at Port Saint John increases Year-over-Year

Significant increases experienced in container and dry bulk sectors

SAINT JOHN (NB) – Overall cargo tonnage at Port Saint John for the year 2020 was 25,984,654 metric tonnes (MT), a 2% increase over 2019.

In the container sector, both TEUs and tonnage experienced year-over-year increases in 2020, with TEUs increasing to 79,179 TEUs (15% over 2019) and tonnage increasing to 580,279 MT (19% over 2019).    This is the fourth consecutive year of growth in the container sector at Port Saint John.

Several major developments occurred in 2020 that will continue to positively impact container cargo at Port Saint John. These are:

  • The continuation of the $205 million West Side Modernization Project construction which launched early in 2020 and which is due to be complete in 2023 in funding partnership with the Government of Canada, Province of New Brunswick, and Port Saint John.
  • The launch of CP Rail’s East Coast Advantage strategy and rail services through acquisition and improvement of the former CMQR line in the State of Maine, solidifying Port Saint John as the only Atlantic Canadian port with two Class I national rail providers. And,
  • The announcement that Hapag Lloyd will join MSC and CMA CGM as a regular container service provider at the Port in 2021.

“Container sector growth continues to be a primary focus at Port Saint John.  Our partnership with DP World blends their global reach and influence with our terminal modernization project to achieve the common objective of continued growth.  Additionally, we were pleased in 2020 to continue our excellent relationship with CN and further strengthen and develop partnerships with supply chain partners in the rail and shipping sector as we look forward to a bright future for the Port and its supporting port service community,” said Jim Quinn, President & CEO of Port Saint John.

In other cargo sectors, dry bulk cargoes increased from 649,272 MT to 854,243 MT in 2020, driven primarily by Saskatchewan-mined Nutrien potash which is exported by Canpotex from Saint John to South American markets from Barrack Point Potash Terminal.

The break bulk sector, which represent only 0.01% of all cargoes at Port Saint John, is the only cargo sector which experienced a decrease dropping from 7,209 MT in 2019 to 2,935 MT in 2020.

Notably, the hardest hit sector in port traffic in 2020 was the cruise sector. Due to travel industry impacts from COVID-19, no cruise ship activity took place in North America during the usual May – October cruise season in the Canada New England itinerary.  While necessary to slow the spread of the virus, this impact was felt throughout the region at various tour operators and small businesses who rely on the influx of visitors each year.

Port Saint John is Canada’s Atlantic Canada’s largest port by tonnage and has a diverse cargo base, including dry and liquid bulk, break bulk, containers, and cruise.

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Media Contact:  Paula Copeland, Director, Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility, Port Saint John, [email protected], (506) 650-5288.


Port Saint John Cargo and Cruise Statistics

2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
Dry Bulk 854,243 MT 649,272 MT 1,459,308 MT 1,932,868 MT 747,172 MT
Liquid Bulk 24,547,201 MT 24,226,147 MT 23,180,222 MT 28,101,794 MT 25,111,987 MT
Break Bulk 2,935 MT 7,209 MT 7,805 MT 33,519 MT 5,956 MT
Containers 580,270 MT 489,546 MT 421,456 MT 390,237 MT 573,181 MT
TEUs 79,179 TEUs 68,901 MT 59,000 TEUs 57,402 TEUs 90,262 TEUs
Total Port 25,984,654 MT 25,372,180 MT 25,068,798 MT 30,458.422 MT 26,438,301 MT
Vessels 805* 857 858 927 874

* 2020 included no cruise ships due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

2020* 2019 2018 2017 2016
Cruise ships 79 69 65 63
Passengers 196,032 159,545 147,710 143,926
Crew 78,212 64,165 61,082 59,188

* 2020 included no cruise ships, passengers, and crew due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

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