East Coast Ports

Dredging: how deep are U.S. ports?

Although many U.S. East Coast ports are scrambling to deepen their harbors and expand infrastructure to handle the much-bigger ships from the Far East that will start calling after the Panama Canal opens its new locks, the ports are already handling the post-Panamax ships that are coming from India, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East via the Suez Canal. Call it a rehearsal for the 2015 opening night.

Baltimore and Norfolk, which already have the 50 feet of water needed to accommodate the big ships, are sitting pretty, but they are not resting on their laurels. Norfolk is adding new train services, and Baltimore plans a new double-stack intermodal rail terminal. Five other ports, including Charleston, Jacksonville, Miami, New York/New Jersey and Savannah, got a leg up when the Obama Administration fast-tracked the federal approval process for their deepening and expansion projects, which could pave the way for some of them to finish by 2015.

Although Asian cargo now provides the majority of the throughput at many ports, the trans-Atlantic trade with Europe, like the Energizer Bunny, just keeps going and going, underpinning those ports’ business.

East Coast ports maintained their lead in containerized exports in the first nine months of 2012 and increased their share of import and export markets.

Special Coverage

trucks at Global terminal gate in New York/New Jersey
Truckers at the Port of New York and New Jersey have begun applying for grants to help finance replacement of up to 80 of the several thousand older trucks that are set to be banned from port terminals in less than 14 months.

News & Analysis

01 May 2016
Ports will have to compete for business as never before over the next decade, Port of Long Beach CEO Jon Slangerup said.
26 Apr 2016
A sharp turnaround in industrial real estate activity around the Savannah port underscores the white-hot demand nationally for logistics properties as well as shippers putting in place long-term plans to use Southeast versus West Coast ports to access the regional market.
03 Mar 2016
The rise in refrigerated cargo shipments is good news for major container ports, including the Port of Charleston. In an interview with Cool Cargoes Editor Lara L. Sowinski, Jim Newsome, president and CEO of South Carolina Ports Authority, shares his perspective on what it takes to accommodate reefer cargo and how the SCPA is positioning itself to capitalize on the future growth of this specialized cargo.
Port of Montreal
03 Mar 2016
The frequent congestion and longshore labor flare-ups at the New York-New Jersey port are putting a renewed focus on Montreal as an alternative gateway for goods, particularly those from Europe destined for the U.S. interior.
08 Feb 2016
Big increases in loaded import containers and empty export boxes pushed the Port of New York and New Jersey’s 2015 volume to a record 6,371,720 twenty-foot-equivalent units, despite soft December totals and continuing problems with congestion.
Port of Savannah
03 Feb 2016
U.S. East Coast ports toppled the U.S. West Coast in international containerized ocean volume and market share for the first nine months of 2015, handling 47.1 percent of the 24 million TEUs moving through the U.S., while West Coast ports handled 44.5 percent.

Commentary

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' channel assessment methodology based on national benefit/cost ratio is speculative and, in some areas, flawed, especially on the benefit side.

More Commentary

Video

Port of Virginia's John Reinhart on their strategy of making many smaller improvements for a lasting, sustained change to operations to expand with the industry.
Port of Virginia's Russell Held on its short-haul inland network, rail connections and the Panama Canal expansion.
Global Terminal is undergoing major expansion while continuing cargo operations. Guy Buzzoni, vice president of infrastructure development at Global Terminal, discusses the challenges -- and explains why he's watching the weather.