Port manager says east coast is seeing a boom

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East coast ports are profiting from the diversion of trade from the west coast for fear of a strike.

Bethann Rooney, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, told reporters on Friday that trade flow originally bound for the West Coast and redirected to their port was steady.

“Through April 2022, container volume is up 11.2% compared to the same period last year,” Rooney said. “About 6.5% of the total volume during this period represented freight that was re-routed from the West Coast.”

Rooney acknowledged that import containers stay a bit longer and ships dock a bit longer, increasing at anchor. The port has seen a whopping 33% increase in container volume since 2019. Rooney said the overall volume the port receives is more than 1.5% to 2% compound growth expected.

“It’s breathtaking,” she said.

According to the CNBC supply chain heatmap, the Port of New York/New Jersey is on the verge of tipping over to congestion based on the data metrics.

Source: CNBC Supply Chain Heatmap

The CNBC supply chain heatmap shows the dichotomy between import and export dwell times at the port.

“We did the analysis, but I wouldn’t anticipate anything [changing] on this until after the summer,” Rooney said. “Long-lived import containers take up much-needed capacity.”

Products in these long-term housing containers include household appliances, winter clothing and Christmas trees.

Rooney said she meets with operators and truckers to ensure all terminal times are used consistently. She suggested that a possible solution would be to spread out the dispatch of truckers to ease the morning queues they currently face.

Rooney has held weekly meetings with terminal operations since the start of 2022, discussing lessons learned during the pandemic. Other topics have included what sustainable safety and security measures can be used to promote efficiency.

A third depot operated by C&C has been made available for empty containers. Rooney said she has spoken to both major carriers and new entrants about picking up more empty containers.

These talks triggered action. A total of 13 chargers have been received this year, including five in May alone.

“We have chassis that are not in use because they have empty containers sitting on them,” Rooney said. “A chassis is needed to move the cargo. Unfortunately, chassis vendors are running out of parts and materials to generate this gear.

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