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Shippers Clog East Coast and Gulf Ports in Effort to Avoid California; Bethann Rooney Comments

Shippers Clog East Coast and Gulf Ports in Effort to Avoid California; Bethann Rooney Comments

Friday, July 8th, 2022

Smaller ports on the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico have begun to feel the strain as port congestion and lengthened wait times continue to impact West Coast ports, leading shippers to avoid routing traffic through the region. As a result, volumes have significantly increased at the East and Gulf Coasts.

Bethann Rooney, Port Director, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey“We’re handling a full 33 percent more containers through our terminals than we were in the same period in 2019,” Bethann Rooney, Port Director at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said. “That staggering increase in overall volume gives a picture of what all of the various nodes and links in the supply chain are trying to absorb. All this was without the benefit of knowing that this volume is here to stay and, therefore, as service providers and partners in the supply chain, we need to make the investment in order to handle this staggering increase in activity.”

Overall, as shippers have been diverting cargo away from the West Coast, volumes have dropped 3.5 percent, while the East and Gulf Coasts are up 6.1 percent and 21.3 percent, respectively, according to an article from The Journal of Commerce.

With port congestion and elongated wait times continuing to affect West Coast ports, shippers have begun to avoid the region, instead routing more traffic toward ports on the East and Gulf Coasts

As a result of these volume increases, an average of 17 container ships sat anchored outside the Port of New York and New Jersey during the last week of June. This came after the port reached a record 21 vessels on June 20.

Additionally, there were more than 30 vessels waiting to berth in Savannah, Georgia, a record high. In Houston, Texas, there has been above-average growth in import volumes, as the port has seen a 25 percent increase year-over-year through May, pushing the number of vessels anchored outside the largest Gulf Coast port to 16 as of June 27, up from 8 percent in mid-May.

As carriers work to overcome supply chain challenges and ports seek to mitigate congestion, stay tuned for more updates from Deli Market News.