Complacency is not an option for U.S. ports

With the Panama canal expansion meeting its deadline in late 2015, shippers are busy determining which gateways would best serve their future needs. But even more strategic complexity has been introduced this year with consolidation of ocean carrier services. Rather than whistling in the dark, the leading ocean cargo gateways are keeping their guard up.

By ·

With the Panama canal expansion meeting its deadline in late 2015, shippers are busy determining which gateways would best serve their future needs. But even more strategic complexity has been introduced this year with consolidation of ocean carrier services. Rather than whistling in the dark, the leading ocean cargo gateways are keeping their guard up.

According to Ben Hackett, president of the maritime consultancy Hackett Associates, the P3 and G6 carrier alliances will not change the current ports comprising his monthly “Port Tracker” newsletter.

The ports surveyed in the report issued by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates include: Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Tacoma, Seattle, Houston, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, and Savannah, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Port Everglades.

“NY/NJ will always be a major destination because of the population concentration. The same is true of LA/Long Beach,” says Hackett. “Oakland and Savannah are important because they represent two of the best export gateways. Finally, Norfolk and Seattle/Tacoma are attractive because they have sufficiently deep harbors to handle the mega vessels.”

Hackett notes that alliance carriers will also continue to use their respective terminals, thereby ameliorating dockside disruption. He does concede, however, that drayage may be complicated in the future.

“With the influx of these massive container ships, truckers will have many more boxes to move at once,” he observes. “As a consequence, you can expect ports to demand more transparency in the drayage process.”

While relatively minor, the Gulf ports of New Orleans and Corpus Christi play a significant role as a transshipment hub, as does the Port of Boston and Philadelphia in the East. On the West Coast, the niche Port of Portland and Vancouver USA remain viable for many shippers. None of these players, however, will find a place in “Port Tracker” in the near future.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Improving Packaging: The Cost of Shipping Air is Going Up
Retailers and manufacturers that insist on using inefficient and sloppy packaging methods—oversized boxes, inefficient packaging, poorly constructed palletized contents—are paying for their mistakes in sharply higher freight rates. Pitt Ohio White Paper, Logistics White Paper, Dimensional Packaging
Download Today!
From the July 2016 Issue
While it’s currently a shippers market, the authors of this year’s report contend that we’ve entered a “period of transition” that will usher in a realignment of capacity, lower inventories, economic growth and “moderately higher” rates. It’s time to tighten the ties that bind.
2016 State of Logistics: Third-party logistics
2016 State of Logistics: Ocean freight
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Getting the most out of your 3PL relationship
Join Evan Armstrong, president of Armstrong & Associates, as he explains how creating a balanced portfolio of "Top 50" global and domestic partners can maximize efficiency and mitigate risk.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...
Digital Reality Check
Just how close are we to the ideal digital supply network? Not as close as we might like to think....

Top 25 ports: West Coast continues to dominate
The Panama Canal expansion is set for late June and may soon be attracting more inbound vessel calls...
Port of Oakland launches smart phone apps for harbor truckers
Innovation uses Bluetooth, GPS to measure how long drivers wait for cargo