Ports America is ramping up the productivity levels of its container terminals due to the deployment of larger ships on the US trades.
Ports America chief commercial officer Tom Perdue told Container Shipping & Trade “With the deployment (and cascading) of larger ships into North America, it is expected that there may be demand for reduced ports of calls in the US, consolidated volumes at strategic ports and terminals, with greater peak throughputs.”
Therefore, Mr Perdue said “We anticipate that increased port handling and productivity will be essential to ensure seamless cargo movement through the supply chain. Enhancements on landside intermodal connectivity points (terminals, barge, rail and roads) will be crucial.” Automation, technology and further infrastructure improvements and investments will also be required, through both public and private partnerships.
Ports America is investing heavily in Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT) in New Jersey and the Seagirt Marine Terminal in Baltimore. Plans for the former involve a US$500M investment before 2030 for expansion that is expected to double the number of containers moving through the terminal and create significant growth within the region.
Mr Perdue pointed out that PNCT has already doubled its ondock rail capacity and purchased three super-post-panamax ship-to-shore cranes that cement “PNCT’s readiness for the ultra-large container vessels”. Further expansion plans include additional yard area, improved gate facility, deep berths and more super-post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes.
The launch of the mega alliances has also had an impact on the US West Coast ports. “Carrier alliances are concentrating their vessel calls at fewer container terminals as they seek leverage and scale of operations. Some ports, meanwhile, find themselves with excess terminal capacity and are looking closely at combining smaller facilities into larger container terminals, or at repurposing container terminals for other uses,” Mr Perdue commented.
He said that Ports America sees its future on the West Coast in two gateways: Los Angeles-Long Beach in the south and Seattle-Tacoma-Vancouver, British Columbia, in the Pacific Northwest.