Ports & Terminals
East Coast sees ‘land of opportunity’ In wake of West Coast port concerns
East Coast ports look to see significant long-term container volume growth in the wake of West Coast labor and congestion issues, according to opening session speakers at the JAXPORT Logistics & Intermodal Conference.
“There is going to be a monumental change here,” Brian Taylor, chief executive officer of the Jacksonville (Fla.) Port Authority, said today [March 24] at the conference at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
In a panel session during which he was joined by fellow top port executives of the region.
Taylor termed the future outlook as “the South Atlantic land of opportunity,” adding that shippers without significant distribution centers on the East Coast are now moving in that direction, and more shippers are looking to trans-Suez Canal routings from Asia as well.
Curtis Foltz, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, said that, whereas East Coast ports are “never going to be a replacement” for West Coast gateways, the Port of Savannah has seen three times greater than projected container volume growth since October.
Stating that West Coast issues extend beyond labor concerns, Foltz said Southeast ports need a long-term plan to stay ahead of the curve, including deeper harbors, as advancing in Savannah, as well as better capabilities for efficiently moving containers inland by rail and truck.
Paul Cozza, chief executive officer of the North Carolina State Ports Authority, said, “There’s going to be really a material shift to the East Coast. We need to step up and provide the service they [shippers] need.”
In welcoming remarks, Clarence Gooden, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Jacksonville-based Class I rail firm CSX Corp., said, “The East Coast ports are going to benefit greatly off this disaster on the West Coast,” which, he said, is “probably going to have more strategic implications in the near term than the opening of the [expanded] Panama Canal.”
Full conference coverage is to appear in the April 6 edition of the American Journal of Transportation.