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U.S. East Coast Port Capacity Tested

April 8, 2015 – Several U.S. East Coast ports are being tested by a surge in volume due to the months of West Coast port delays and a strengthening U.S. economy.

Joseph Bonney, Sr. Editor of the Journal of Commerce (JOC), has reported that high volume and the lingering impact of West Coast gridlock continue to produce uneven delays at East Coast container ports.

According to the JOC article, some of the sharpest increases have been at Savannah, where volume has been boosted by carrier deployments of extra “sweeper ships” to handle cargo rerouted to avoid West Coast congestion.

The Port of Virginia lost 4 days to winter weather in February. It is still trying to clear backlogs and stayed open for Good Friday. Port Newark Container Terminal in the Port of New York and New Jersey also stayed open to catch up. A series of steps have been taken by the port authority to help handle any congestion.

How It Affects Your Business

  • East Coast rates will continue to decrease as congestion lightens, meaning lower current market cost for 2015 contract negotiations
  • Transit times and turn times at the port will improve, allowing for fast time to market
  • As EC ports show they can be efficient, look for larger vessels to start calling EC in future

How You Should Handle It

  • Ensure you are routing cargo over most efficient port i.e. Getting the right service vs. cost mix
  • As port congestion clears up, ensure you are not seeing any more congestion fees from truckers and or unnecessary waiting time on invoices
  • Think about EC ports for your business model, could it work?
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