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.
02 Apr 2014
NEWPORT, R.I. — With a shortage of chassis a major contributor to gridlock at the Port of New York and New Jersey this winter, the idea of a portwide chassis pool is gaining traction as one possible element in an overall solution to the port’s growing congestion issues.
02 Apr 2014
A smartphone application that allows truckers to confirm container availability, vessel schedules and other information i
BMW exports autos through Port of Charleston
01 Apr 2014
South Carolina’s new inland port at Greer will get a big increase in the volume of autos and containers it handles for rail shipment to and from the Port of Charleston over the next couple of years. The leg up will come from the $1 billion investment that BMW announced March 28 to expand production at its automobile plant in nearby Spartanburg over the next two years.
26 Mar 2014
The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor has authorized New York-New Jersey port employers to hire 150 additional longshoremen.
Longshoremen rally against the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor.
25 Mar 2014
Several hundred New York-New Jersey longshoremen halted work for two hours today to cheer union, business and political officials who denounced the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor and urged repeal of the commission’s authority over dockworker hiring.

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.