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

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.
18 May 2015
The degree to which the Panama Canal expansion will alter the global cold chain is yet to be determined, but stakeholders are already seeing signs of a rise in business.
15 May 2015
East Coast and West Coast ports snatched a sizable share of the U.S.containerized import market from their West Coast counterparts in the first fourth months of the year, as shippers shifted cargo away from the congested gateways.
15 May 2015
The leader of the management group that negotiates with West Coast longshoremen said this week that the negotiating process that yielded months of disruption through February is “not sustainable.”
containers at Port of Oakland
08 May 2015
Containerized imports through major U.S. port gateways hit record levels in March as West Coast ports disgorged shipments that backed up during weeks of gridlock, according to the latest Global Port Tracker report.
06 May 2015
Port congestion and labor issues took a toll on West Coast port volumes in 2014, as West Coast ports lost market share and East Coast ports gained market share, according to a report by CBRE Americas Research.

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.