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

20 Oct 2014
The South Carolina Ports Authority today received the first ship call of a new consolidated South American east coast service that brings additional post-Panamax vessels to Charleston.
09 Oct 2014
A former president of International Longshoremen’s Association 1235 in Newark, New Jersey, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for extorting his members for “Christmas tribute” payments to the Genovese crime family.
08 Oct 2014
Georgia port and state officials have signed a partnership agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers that allows work contracts to be awarded for deepening of Savannah’s port channel to 47 feet.
04 Oct 2014
New calls from container carriers and volumes from the tail end of the 2014 peak season increased Boston’s September throughput by nearly 12 percent.
Ships at port
02 Oct 2014
Low ocean carrier rates are to blame for much of the congestion afflicting U.S. container ports, several ocean carriers and terminal operators said at a Federal MaritimeCommission hearing this week.
30 Sep 2014
Florida East Coast Railway is preparing for completion of the Port of Miami’s harbor-deepening project in the fourth quarter of 2015 by purchasing new equipment and locomotives and offering expedited services to population centers in the Southeast.

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.