Source: Lloyd’s List
February 19th 2016
US east coast ports had their best year ever in 2015 in terms of container imports, with 7.9m teu of loaded containers entering the region, which was a 12.6% year-on-year increase compared with a 0.4% rise for the US west coast, according to a BIMCO report.
Ports on the US west coast had been hit by the standoff between labor unions and their employers, which resulted in port congestion.
“As the conflict on the US west coast dragged out, some of the traffic was diverted to US east coast ports. These ports benefited greatly from the diverted traffic but also from the fact that this happened at a time when personal consumption of goods in the US was on the rise,” said BIMCO chief shipping analyst Peter Sand.
However, west coast import volumes are picking up again, with Los Angeles seeing a 41.6% year-on-year increase to 367,208 teu in January. Port of Long Beach had a 30.3% increase in loaded inbound container volumes in January. At the Port of Oakland, containerized import volume soared a staggering 75.8% last month compared with January 2015.
“Going forward, one of the big questions will be whether or not the US east coast ports can hang on to this new business,” Mr Sand added.
As Lloyd’s List previously reported, data produced by the Marine Exchange, which oversees ship movements in San Diego, Port Hueneme and El Segundo as well as Los Angeles and Long Beach, suggest that traffic has not been permanently diverted to other ports in Canada, Mexico or on the US east coast.
Inbound loaded containers volumes at east coast ports peaked in March 2015 and remained robust till June, largely due to the problems on the west coast. Average year-on-year growth then began to tail off toward the end of 2015.