Friday, March 27, 2015

The 'Other' Ports

Eastern container ports deal with their own issues, including blizzards and West Coast fallout.   

An enormous amount of ink – enough to float a container ship? – has been expended on the long, agonizing problems of the United States’ West Coast ports, the labor disputes, bottlenecks and backups.

But this country has another coast, and another set of container ports, that have their own issues. Much of the congestion and backlogs at East Coast ports can be attributed at least in part to the Pacific port issues, as cargo was diverted to destinations including New York-New Jersey, Virginia and Jacksonville to avoid the crush of ships waiting to unload there. With economic activity looking up, and the Panama Canal expansion due to come online within a year – the original completion date has already passed – increased activity at the East Coast ports will be a fact of life, and the U.S. port operators are scrambling to upgrade their facilities to handle greater volume, and larger ships. Panama Canal widening will allow it to handle “Post-Panamax” ships with a capacity of up to 15,000 containers, instead of the current maximum of 5,000.

New York-New Jersey is struggling to handle a volume surge that has strained capacity at the East Coast’s busiest container port. Truck drivers have been stuck in hours-long lines at port terminals. Queues in New York-New Jersey on Monday were longest at Port Newark Container Terminal, where Port Authority Police were redirecting vehicles because of heavy traffic. Most NY-NJ terminals kept their gates open on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, when the International Longshoremen’s Association has a paid holiday for that celebration plus the observance of the (November) birthday of Teddy Gleason, the late ILA president. Several NY-NJ terminals kept gates open last week for extended hours, till 9 p.m. weekdays and on Saturday.

Current delays in the New York metro area don’t approach those of last winter, when a series of blizzards crippled port operations for two months. The Maritime Association of the Port of New York reports no backup of anchored ships such as those that Southern California ports saw a few weeks ago. At least Los Angeles doesn’t have to deal with snowstorms.

Kirk Shearer
TOTALogistix <>
800-989-0054 x103

No comments: