Wednesday, March 2, 2016

State of the Ports Address 2016

Posted by Emily Johnson, Intern

Last Thursday, we hosted our second annual State of the Ports Address. We had Dominic O’Brien from the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority and Marie Byers from the Harrisburg International Airport speak at the event.

The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) is located in the fifth largest metropolitan area in the United States. Something that you might not know is that the Philadelphia port is a global leader in food imports, which is due to their vast temperature controlled storage capacity. Additionally, the port has less congestion compared to other east coast ports, with a quick ship and truck turn times with multiple rail connections in the area. There are over 250 distribution centers that lie within the PRPA’s immediate hinterland. This year marks PRPA’s 6th year of consecutive growth! 

The Philadelphia Port has exciting new updates to their port. They have been working on a channeling deepening project to allow for bigger ships to enter, which is influenced by the Panama Canal expansion. This is 80% complete and expected to be completed by 2017. They are doing upgrades on their Tioga Marine Terminal, Southport Marine Terminal Complex, and multiple other piers that they own. This will accommodate for bringing in more cargo to the port, which creates more jobs and more trade in the region. They also recently created a partnership with Sealand, which created a direct shipping line to Mexico. This new shipping line takes only six days for cargo to travel from Philadelphia to Veracruz. 


The Harrisburg International Airport (HIA) serves the central Pennsylvania region with residents who purchase nearly $1 million departing airline tickets annually. Something that you might not know is that the airport is actually a self-sustaining entity that does not rely on any state or federal subsidies to operate. Given this, HIA continues to provide growth to the central PA region, creating nearly $1 billion in economic activity. 

For passenger flights, Air Canada, Allegiant, American, Delta and United currently offers nonstop service to 11 destinations with connections worldwide. In 2015, an average of 3,290 passengers used the airport each day to fly domestically and 250 people used the airport each day fly internationally. The top five international destinations for 2015 included Toronto, Cancun, San Juan, London, and Shanghai. New this year, the airport is offering direct flights to Punta Gorda, Florida, and an all-inclusive vacation package to the Bahamas.

HIA ranks 76th in the nation for cargo shipments, which is higher than airports such as San Jose, Oklahoma City, and Norfolk. At HIA, there is a FedEx hub for cargo coming from Williamsport and Scranton. UPS also recently built a “Hub in a Box” at HIA that created approximately 100 jobs and an expected $168,000 in new revenue each year. December 2015 was a record month for the airport with 5,722 tons of cargo flown to and from the region.

Although there have been some new challenges in the airport industry from mergers, low fuel prices, and less flights, the Harrisburg International Airport continues to make expansion and customer service their top priorities to deliver an altogether better flying experience. Looking to the future, Shaner Hotel Holdings will be developing a new hotel at the airport that will have 120 rooms, meeting spaces, a restaurant, and bar. This is to be open by 2017.  

Overall, the State of the Ports Address showed us how important logistics is to boosting trade in our region. It informed attendees of new growth that will help the local economy grow. For more details, please click here to download the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority presentation and click here to download the Harrisburg International Airport presentation.

For additional pictures from the event, click here to visit our Facebook album

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