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

09 Dec 2014
Part of the reason South Atlantic ports haven’t seen as much congestion as their Northeast and Southern California counterparts is because the operating port model is more prevalent there, Federal Maritime Commissioner Michael Khouri said today.
Southport, which Philadelphia hopes to turn into a marine terminal
29 Oct 2014
The Port of Philadelphia is making a third try at getting its long-contemplated and long-postponed Southport terminal off the ground. The project, originally designed as a container terminal, may evolve into a multi-use terminal this time as the overseas market for petrochemical products refined locally from U.S. shale oil offers a new growth opportunity.
20 Oct 2014
The South Carolina Ports Authority today received the first ship call of a new consolidated South American east coast service that brings additional post-Panamax vessels to Charleston.
17 Oct 2014
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx used a ceremony highlighting the expansion of Port Newark Container Terminal to put in a plug for an Obama administration proposal to spend $302 billion over the next four years on transport infrastructure.
16 Oct 2014
The Port of Virginia’s container traffic exceeded the 200,000-TEU mark for the fifth month in a row in September, despite ongoing drayage congestion.
16 Oct 2014
Congestion at large U.S. ports is generating increased complaints by truckers and shippers about demurrage penalties for late pickup of containers that can’t be removed from gridlocked marine terminals.

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.