East Coast Shipping Ports: What You Need To Know

East Coast Shipping Ports: What You Need To Know

Did you know that the East Coast shipping ports are expanding operations? The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are still suffering from months-long delays. A huge number of companies are opting to send goods to the East Coast to avoid delays on the west coast.

Even though the cost to send goods to the East Coast ports from Asia is roughly $3,000 extra, shipping companies find this is far more cost-effective than waiting out in the Pacific for California to fix its myriad problems.

East Coast shipping port authorities have stated that their operations are more than ready for the new shippers to arrive. Places like the Port of Charleston have invested $2 billion in infrastructural improvements over the last few years. 

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best, biggest, and newest improvements to East Coast shipping ports. Let’s start by discussing why the East Coast is a viable option for goods coming from East Asia.

The Improvements to Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is a man-made watercourse that connects the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. First ideated in the 16th century, it took until 1914 for the canal to open for business. 

Since this time, the canal has gone through various stages of improvement and expansion. The third set of locks was added and opened in 2016, making it even easier to ship goods across the Pacific and up the Atlantic seaboard.

Most recently, a third bridge was opened in 2019. Known as the Atlantic Bridge, ports across the East Coast knew that this would increase the shipment of goods around the world. 

Because of the consistent and expert expansions of the Panama Canal, east coast shipping ports have started to expand capabilities to handle the wealth of new goods entering the United States.

California’s Coastal Catastrophe

Only two ports take on upwards of 40% of America’s goods and shipping containers. The Port of Los Angeles was ranked as the #1 container port in the western hemisphere between 2000 and 2020. 

The Port of Long Beach was equally as sought-after. However, in 2021, both ports were hitting their limits thanks to increased consumer demand and poor management. Trucking companies and inland warehouses were overburdened with items and understaffed as a result of mismanagement in California’s COVID response.

Now, east coast shipping ports are becoming the go-to option for companies around the world. Shipping containers tend to fair better on the East Coast due to the latest improvements to these ports.

Shipping Ports on the East Coast

East Coast ports have seen an 8.6% increase in shipping container business from East Asia since 2017. At one time, the east coast of the United States handled the most shipping container volume in the world. 

China has certainly surpassed the East Coast shipping ports, but goods on their way to America have made up for the discrepancies. Let’s explore some of the ports and their container statistics.

New York/New Jersey Shipping Port

In terms of the market share, New York and New Jersey make up 32% of trade in container ports on the East Coast. Anyone lucky enough to live in or visit New York and New Jersey has seen the ports. It makes up a significant portion of the coastline around the famed states’ major cities like New York City.

Earlier in 2021, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey saw an overall increase in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of 7.9%. The total import volumes in both ports have risen by roughly 11% every year.

In 2020, the ports saw a total throughput of 7.59 million TEUs. The demand for containers subsequently increased 87% between 2019 and 2020. The growth of New York and New Jersey might be short-lived as many east coast ports are starting to seriously compete.

The CMA CGM Brazil, a 15,000-container ship docked into New York in September 2020, signaling the shift to east coast operations for most of America’s shipping needs.

Savannah is Close Second

The Port of Savannah is the second busiest port on the East Coast, but the largest single-terminal container facility in the country. The Port of Savannah has exported more filled containers than any other port in America.

Oddly, the Port of Savannah is the third-fastest growing port in the nation. As the port is located within 300 miles of 37.2 million residents, major international airports, 5 other major ports, and 11 huge cities, it’s no surprise that Savannah may soon overtake New York/New Jersey for the biggest and busiest on the East Coast.

The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project expanded the port size significantly. Adding an extra 7 miles to the entrance and 18.5 miles of the outer harbor, Savannah is looking to become the top container port in the nation.

Georgia is one of the best places to buy shipping containers in the United States. However, you must ask your provider the right questions before engaging in business. Just because containers and shipping are part of the booming industry of Georgia, doesn’t mean that everyone knows what they’re doing.

Last year, Savannah handled 21.6% of the East Coast container trade. That’s 4.4 million TEUs. All told, Savannah handled 12.2% of containerized exports in 2020.

North Carolina’s Large History 

North Carolina’s State Port Authority set a record in October 2020 by welcoming the largest container ship (to date) to the Port of Wilmington. With a carrying capacity of 14,220 TEUs, the Yang Ming Warranty is the largest class vessel calling into the East Coast.

North Carolina was able to set this record thanks to a $200 million capital improvement plan to expand operations throughout the shipping port. Last year, the port opened 2,600 contiguous feet of container birth space.

Buying a shipping container in North Carolina is becoming easier. But finding the right company can be confusing. Ensure you’re looking at an organization with a variety of container options.

Why Florida is in The News

In 2021, Florida’s largest shipping container port broke local records by moving 1.4 million cargo containers. The governor of Florida has gone so far as to invite shipping containers stuck off the coast of California to Florida for easier transport.

Florida ports are open 24hours a day, 7 days a week to mitigate supply chain issues from the COVID-19 pandemic. Shipping container companies are increasingly turning to Florida as a faster option than waiting for California to get working again.

Many companies who use the shipping industry to transport goods have asked their shipping container provider to utilize east coast ports to avoid issues in California.

Along with being highly functioning, Florida ports also have huge capacities. Jacksonville Port Authority, upon hearing of the crisis in California, opened to an estimated 1,000 additional container ships per week. 

Port Everglades also accommodated the MSC Stella, with 7,000 containers. The MSC Susanna also arrived with 9,200 containers via the Suez Canal.

The governor of Florida has allocated almost a billion dollars to over 70 of Florida’s shipping port projects. In just one month, the state government provided $250,000 into seaports. 

Virginia’s Container Cargo

The Port of Virginia in Hampton Roads Harbor received 1.5 million container units in 2020. The total number of short ton and metric ton container cargo units (in thousands) reached more than 21,000 and 19,000 respectively.

The main commodities to make their way out to the rest of the world through Virginia are minerals and fuels, with fruits and seeds being a distant second. The imports through Virginia are predominant goods like homewares, but also major foods, nuclear reactors, various machinery, and more.

Virginia is expanding their port operations. The Port Authority recently signed a 20-year lease agreement with a private terminal in Portsmouth Harbor, meaning even more opportunities await in the state. With its proximity to Washington D.C. and other major U.S. hubs, Virginia is on its way to competing to the top spot in east coast shipping ports. 

Global Trade Opportunities 

While California and other parts of the west coast have boasted a majority of shipping for most of recent history, things are changing fast. The growth in the east coast shipping industry is due to proximity to the rest of the world. 

The west might be closer to Asia, but the East Coast receives trade from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. When coupled with the expansion of the Panama Canal, the East Coast is getting busy quickly.

India is another major trade nation with the United States. The Port of Virginia exported more goods to India than any other nation. India was also the second-largest importer to the state.

Regardless of the type of shipping contain company you’re looking to work with, knowing niche details about each east coast port is essential for accurate operations. As the problems on the west coast continue, the East Coast may dominate the shipping industry by the end of 2022. 

Contact Transocean Equipment for More Shipping Management Information

To learn more about these major changes to shipping ports across the United States, get in touch with us today. For a free quote on the best shipping containers, look no further. 

Our offices are located in North Carolina and South Carolina, but we operate across the world. No matter what your shipping container needs, we’ve got you covered. 

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