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

trucks at Global terminal gate in New York/New Jersey
Truckers at the Port of New York and New Jersey have begun applying for grants to help finance replacement of up to 80 of the several thousand older trucks that are set to be banned from port terminals in less than 14 months.
Russell Held at JOC Inland 2015
22 Nov 2015
Port of Virginia's Russell Held on its short-haul inland network, rail connections and the Panama Canal expansion.
05 Nov 2015
The contract negotiation process between the International Longshoremen’s Association on the East and Gulf coasts and management is on firm footing and in need of no change, according to Tom Simmers, executive president of United States Maritime Alliance.
31 Oct 2015
In the wake of a major deepening project to accommodate post-Panamax megaships, there is intense debate over how successful the Port of Miami will be realizing its goal of becoming a competitive gateway for Asian imports destined for points beyond Florida.
29 Oct 2015
A senior leader of the International Longshoreman’s Association expressed optimism on Wednesday over a multiyear contract extension with East and Gulf Coast employers but said it won’t happen by the end of the year.


The Port of New York and New Jersey and its new port commerce director, former Port of Los Angeles executive Molly Campbell, face a challenge: The port must solve its current congestion issues before the next wave of big ships hits New York-New Jersey, probably next year.


Port of Virginia's Russell Held on its short-haul inland network, rail connections and the Panama Canal expansion.
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.