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.
container ships at Port Miami
07 Apr 2015
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has made a giant bet that Florida, and, in particular, Miami, will muscle its way into the container port gateway business, moving cargo to and from points well beyond the port confines.
Aerial of Port of New York and New Jersey
06 Apr 2015
The embattled Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor is trying to defuse one of the issues that New Jersey legislators cited in sending Gov. Chris Christie a bill to break up the bistate crime watchdog agency.
27 Mar 2015
For U.S. West Coast ports, 2015 was going to be a year to solidify market share in the competitive U.S. container trades as ports on the East Coast prepared for completion of the Panama Canal expansion project. Instead, the first quarter of 2015 has been a nightmare for West Coast ports, with crippling congestion, an unsettled labor contract and declining container volumes.
27 Mar 2015
East and Gulf Coast ports have been winning the market share battle in the U.S. containerized ocean trade since 2008. What happened?
26 Mar 2015
The Port of Virginia is shifting three rubber-tire gantry cranes to the newly reopened Portsmouth Marine Terminal to handle overflow from larger terminals, and expected to have two of the yard cranes ready for use today.

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.