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

trucks at Global terminal gate in New York/New Jersey
Truckers at the Port of New York and New Jersey have begun applying for grants to help finance replacement of up to 80 of the several thousand older trucks that are set to be banned from port terminals in less than 14 months.

News & Analysis

03 May 2016
The West Coast ports’ share of Asia imports heading into the United States was shrinking even before congestion nearly paralyzed ports from Long Beach to Seattle last year.
04 Jan 2016
The Port of New York and New Jersey handled a record 286,798 cargo containers of all sizes in November as an increase in import loads offset a dip in loaded exports at the largest U.S. East Coast port.
29 Dec 2015
The president of the International Longshoremen’s Association said the union is pleased that the appropriations bill that Congress approved this month includes a two-year delay in the “Cadillac tax” on high-end medical plans.
14 Dec 2015
ISELIN, New Jersey — The arrival in Los Angeles on Dec. 26 of the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, with a capacity of almost 18,000 20-foot container units, confirms the business case for automated terminals in Southern California and other major U.S. gateways, according to port planner Larry Nye.
Russell Held at JOC Inland 2015
22 Nov 2015
Port of Virginia's Russell Held on its short-haul inland network, rail connections and the Panama Canal expansion.

Commentary

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' channel assessment methodology based on national benefit/cost ratio is speculative and, in some areas, flawed, especially on the benefit side.

Video

Port of Virginia's John Reinhart on their strategy of making many smaller improvements for a lasting, sustained change to operations to expand with the industry.
Port of Virginia's Russell Held on its short-haul inland network, rail connections and the Panama Canal expansion.
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.