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.

Special Coverage

Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The volume of all containers handled by U.S. and Canadian East Coast ports in the fourth quarter of 2013 increased by 4.4 percent year-over-year to 4.2 million 20-foot-equivalent units, according to port-published data collected by the JOC.

News & Analysis

MSC ships at Charleston
21 Jan 2015
South Carolina Ports Authority CEO Jim Newsome expects the Port of Charleston’s 2015 container volume to expand 5 percent to 7 percent after traffic measured similarly jumped 12 percent in 2014 from 2013.
13 Jan 2015
Yang Ming Line has become the fourth carrier to offer a Richmond, Virginia, bill of lading for service on the James River container-on-barge service linking Richmond with Hampton Roads marine terminals.
13 Jan 2015
New York-New Jersey port truckers say chassis shortages and dislocations have continued into 2015 while industry officials work to develop a portwide pool of interchangeable “gray” chassis by mid-year.
13 Jan 2015
Drayage companies are pressing their fight with New York-New Jersey marine terminals over a tariff change that allows terminals to refuse to compensate truckers for waiting time caused by late ships or other reasons beyond motor carriers’ control.
08 Jan 2015
A New Jersey appellate court has upheld the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor’s right to revoke the license of a port hiring agent for associating with organized-crime members.
NIT at Port of Virginia
06 Jan 2015
The Port of Virginia will delay the launch of a truck appointment system at Norfolk International Terminals until this spring.

Commentary

During what some are calling planned protracted ILWU negotiations, shippers who fear disruption on the West Coast are making U.S. East Coast ports a priority, fearing disruptions on the West Coast. What are the short- and long-term effects of the switch?

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.