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

09 Dec 2014
Part of the reason South Atlantic ports haven’t seen as much congestion as their Northeast and Southern California counterparts is because the operating port model is more prevalent there, Federal Maritime Commissioner Michael Khouri said today.
05 Dec 2014
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Federal Highway Administration are seeking public comments on their draft environmental impact statement on a cross-harbor barge or tunnel for the movement of trucks, containers or railcars.
05 Dec 2014
The Port of New York and New Jersey handled record container volume in October, and port officials report progress on a broad effort to prepare for larger ships expected to accompany the mid-2016 raising of the Bayonne Bridge.
20 Nov 2014
The South Carolina Ports Authority’s inland port of Greer continues to exceed performance expectations with rail lifts at the facility up 1.5 times over plan, with 17,714 moves since July.
17 Nov 2014
As Los Angeles-Long Beach remains mired in congestion, Savannah is in cruise control, handling double-digit increases in imports, much faster growth than the national U.S. average, and doing so with nary a sign of delays.
10 Nov 2014
Some shippers with sensitive cargo are diverting containers away from the U.S. West Coast to the port of Virginia, despite higher transportation costs, to avoid congestion and potential labor action.

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.