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

18 Sep 2014
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has authorized $356 million to develop a long-delayed intermodal rail transfer facility for Global Terminal in Bayonne, New Jersey, and to expand container-on-barge service to Brooklyn.
11 Sep 2014
Ports on the U.S. East and Gulf coasts and in British Columbia continue to benefit from unsettled longshore labor negotiations on the U.S. West Coast.
container ship at Port of Charleston
08 Sep 2014
The Port of Charleston will invest $1.3 billion in the coming decade to deepen its harbor to 50 feet, modernize marine terminals to accommodate today’s mega-ships and build intermodal connectors to enhance its status as a world-class port, James Newsome, president of the South Carolina Ports Authority, said Monday.
Jacksonville
03 Sep 2014
It’s been a good year for the Port of Jacksonville — even if the Northeast Florida port’s total container volume growth has been lackluster.
Bourbon
29 Aug 2014
Growing global demand for bourbon, a solely U.S. produced liquor, is giving U.S. East Coast ports a sweet, down-home surge in containerized cargo.
29 Aug 2014
The attempt by CSX Transportation and the Port of Baltimore to gain double-stack container service to and from the port took a major hit Thursday after the state of Maryland withdrew funding for a planned intermodal terminal.

Commentary

During what some are calling planned protracted ILWU negotiations, shippers who fear disruption on the West Coast are making U.S. East Coast ports a priority, fearing disruptions on the West Coast. What are the short- and long-term effects of the switch?

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.