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

Weekly wrap-up for July 12, 2014
12 Jul 2014
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association surprised watchers by announcing a 72-hour hiatus in their negotiations so that the union could deal with unrelated talks in the Pacific Northwest, and by extending the expired coastwide contract during the suspension of negotiations.
Port of Charleston containerized throughput through May 2014.
20 Jun 2014
The South Carolina Ports Authority’s board of directors has approved a 2015 fiscal year plan that includes expectations of gains in container traffic.
19 Jun 2014
Global Terminal unveiled its new semi-automated facility with a celebration capped by a demonstration of rail-mounted gantry cranes that moved 20-foot containers with ballet-like synchronization.
16 Jun 2014
The Port of Virginia handled 204,232 TEUs in May, up 6.7 percent year-over-year, marking the third-best month in the port’s history for container traffic.
13 Jun 2014
Three companies this month have announced investments in temperature-controlled facilities near the Port of Charleston.
03 Jun 2014
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has nominated Michael Murphy, a lobbyist and former county prosecutor, to the Waterfront Commisson of New York Harbor.

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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.