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

container stack
The 2014 to 2015 congestion crisis at U.S. West Coast ports exacerbated the shift of Asian imports to East and Gulf Coast ports.

News & Analysis

19 May 2016
Container lines and U.S. ports have asked the U.S. maritime regulator for permission to get together to craft a common strategy for dealing with SOLAS.
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.
05 Nov 2015
The contract negotiation process between the International Longshoremen’s Association on the East and Gulf coasts and management is on firm footing and in need of no change, according to Tom Simmers, executive president of United States Maritime Alliance.

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.