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

16 Jun 2016
Coalition calls for the port authority to reinstate ban on trucks made before 2007.
20 Jan 2016
Despite watershed changes taking place in the shipping industry in 2016, the market share of containerized imports of East, West and Gulf Coast ports this year is set look a lot like it did during the second half of 2015, according to port and industry analysts.
Port of Virginia's John Reinhart at PPNA 2015.
19 Jan 2016
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.
12 Jan 2016
Even though the official opening of Panama Canal’s third set of locks is only about four months away, the true impact of the $5.25 billion project on U.S. East and West Coast ports is yet to be determined because of the many factors that affect international trade flows, the vice president of marketing at Manzanillo International Terminals said Monday.
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.

Commentary

The reaction of shippers to West Coast longshore labor disruption is evolving in such a way that West Coast ports have reason for concern.

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.