New York approaches biggest US container port title as west coast imports flatline

Why are people choosing New York/New Jersey to import containers?

One concern is the congestion and delay, averaging 18 days according to the article, at the West Coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Apparently throughput has reached a max there, and is unlikely to improve much.

Actually, ‘approaches’ is a good word. New York’s throughput is still below Los Angeles, by 411,000 to 417,000. But the trend in LA is down, markedly, and the trend in NY is up, so maybe a switch will happen soon. LA doesn’t have many short-term options for improving throughput.

Another concern of shippers is the possibility of labor actions on the West Coast. Historically, longshoreman unions and port terminal representatives have been confrontational on the West Coast. Since the ports are biggest, strikes there or slowdowns would have a serious effect on commerce. and that’s the point of strikes and slowdowns– to bring maximum pressure on the port and terminal representatives to make concessions. It is likely that there will be some kerfuffle. But it’s not clear that anyone wants a total stoppage or serious constriction of traffic. And it’s a major political nightmare too. Presidents in the past have declared states of emergency to keep people at work and the cargo moving. So I think something will be worked out.

When will New York/New Jersey reach its congestion threshhold, and ships start backing up?

It could be good news that the flush of demand for imports may be abating a bit as shippers think through how to realign their supply needs to reduce the pressure on their supply chains. More regular and predictable supply may be the outcome.

By Mike Wackett 24/01/2022

New York nudges biggest US container port title as west coast imports flatline – The Loadstar

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