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

Dockworker at the Port of Savannah
The new or extended contract being explored by International Longshoremen’s Association and its East and Gulf Coast employers could run until 2025, seven years beyond the current agreement’s 2018 expiration.

News & Analysis

West Coast Port of Oakland
23 Jun 2015
The damage inflicted by months of West Coast port congestion and supply chain delays lingers even now, more than a month after management and labor ratified a new longshore contract on May 22. Trans-Pacific volumes at West Coast ports have returned to normal levels, but the ports and carriers that call them lost market share in the first five months of 2015. The only winners were non-vessel-operating common carriers and East Coast ports.
Panama Canal transit
28 May 2015
The expansion of the Panama Canal early next year will make an enormous quantity of container ship tonnage available for services that transit the canal, wiping away current capacity restrictions that restrict usage to only small and inefficient ships by today’s standards.
Port of Baltimore
27 May 2015
Container traffic through the Port of Baltimore in April fell 8.8 percent year-over-year after a record March, Maryland Port Administration statistics show.
26 May 2015
Vessel reliability in the trans-Pacific trades is beginning to improve now that West Coast labor issues have been resolved, but it still has a long way to go before it is acceptable, metrics provided by Seaintel Maritime Analysis and the Marine Exchange of Southern California show.
23 May 2015
The West Coast contract agreement that was ratified Friday by the membership of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, while applauded by cargo interests, carriers, ports and truckers, and rightfully so, will have a limited impact on West Coast port productivity and labor relations.
container ship at Garden City Terminal, Port of Savanah, with reefers onboard
21 May 2015
The Port of Savannah is ramping up its refrigerated cargo capacity after substantial year-over-year growth in reefer cargo at the Georgia port.

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.