East Coast Ports

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.

News & Analysis

30 Apr 2015
The Port of Miami experienced double-digit container volume growth in March. It’s just a hint of what’s to come, port officials say, as the port gears up for the opening of its deeper harbor this summer.
15 Apr 2015
The Port of Charleston posted a 6.8 percent year-over-year increase in loaded 20-foot-equivalent-unit containers and a 13.7 percent rise in total loaded and empty TEUs during March.
Garden City terminal at Port of Savannah
15 Apr 2015
West Coast congestion contributed to a year-over-year increase of 23.7 percent in full containers handled at the Port of Savannah during March. Including empty boxes, volume jumped 27.8 percent.
GCT Bayonne container terminal, Port of New York and New Jersey
13 Apr 2015
New York-New Jersey port truckers are demanding longer gate hours and more lenient demurrage rules to ease congestion that has kept drayage drivers waiting for hours in miles-long lines outside the GCT Bayonne container terminal.
New Jersey Turnpike smart sign
09 Apr 2015
Container terminals at the Port of New York and New Jersey are fighting a seemingly unending battle with congestion that has accompanied record import volume and is producing costly delays for truckers and cargo owners.
07 Apr 2015
East Coast containerized imports in February almost reached parity with West Coast imports, demonstrating the profound shift in trade that has resulted from port congestion and work slowdowns by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union at West Coast ports. The coming months will determine how much of the shift will be permanent.

Commentary

In the past several months, the Port of New York and New Jersey and other ports along the East Coast have experienced record cargo growth due primarily to containers routed here from the West Coast. This growth has led to challenges in how we handle the increased volume on the land side, which we are working on collaboratively with various stakeholders including terminal operators, trucking companies, chassis providers and public safety to address.

Video

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.
The Port of Virginia is aiming to boost container traffic by capitalizing on its post-Panamax draft, tapping improved intermodal service, increasing customer service and developing distribution centers.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could begin dredging the Savannah River navigation channel to a target depth of 47 feet as soon as the second half of this year, said Curtis Foltz, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority.