East Coast Ports

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

09 Dec 2014
Part of the reason South Atlantic ports haven’t seen as much congestion as their Northeast and Southern California counterparts is because the operating port model is more prevalent there, Federal Maritime Commissioner Michael Khouri said today.
18 Sep 2014
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has authorized $356 million to develop a long-delayed intermodal rail transfer facility for Global Terminal in Bayonne, New Jersey, and to expand container-on-barge service to Brooklyn.
Port of Charleston
17 Sep 2014
The Port of Charleston’s strong container traffic in August has furthered its strategy for above-market growth, although the outlook for the rest of the year is not quite so bright.
16 Sep 2014
The Port of Virginia made strides toward financial stability in August, on the back of volume growth that topped 8 percent.
Bayonne Bridge, APL container ship
16 Sep 2014
Last winter’s harsh weather has caused a six-month delay in completion of a project to raise the Bayonne Bridge’s clearance to allow passage by larger container ships at the Port of New York and New Jersey.
15 Sep 2014
Unlike several major North American ports this year, the Port of Savannah hasn’t seen the type of debilitating congestion that has hurt other import gateways.

Commentary

During what some are calling planned protracted ILWU negotiations, shippers who fear disruption on the West Coast are making U.S. East Coast ports a priority, fearing disruptions on the West Coast. What are the short- and long-term effects of the switch?

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.