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

29 Jul 2014
A long-awaited tunnel linking Miami’s port to the interstate highway system will be open for business at the beginning of next week, after months of delays.
04 Jul 2014
Hurricane Arthur appears to have had little impact on the U.S.
Cotton harvesting in Texas. Source: USDA, ARS. Photo by David Nance.
03 Jul 2014
The widening of the Panama Canal could eventually lead to a 90 percent increase in cotton exports for U.S. South Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports, and a 66 percent reduction in cotton exports through West Coast ports.
02 Jul 2014
A tropical storm moving up the U.S. East Coast threatens to complicate cargo movement by disrupting vessel schedules at ports already facing a July 4 holiday interruption.
Maher straddle carrier, Port of New York and New Jersey
01 Jul 2014
Container volume through the Port of New York and New Jersey rose 3.7 percent year-over-year in May, as increases in import loads and empty export boxes offset a decline in export loads.
A yard hustler truck carrying a container just unloaded by Crane 12 passes under Crane 14 as it lowers a container onto a waiting chassis. (NC State Ports Authority Photo by Susan Pridgen)
25 Jun 2014
The North Carolina State Ports Authority has decided to pursue growth through public-private partnerships, calls by midsize container services and cultivation of specialty cargoes such as refrigerated products and bulk wood pellets.

Commentary

Combine several hundred longshoremen on a work break with energetic speakers using microphones they don’t need, and you get a lot of noise.

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.