For inbound laden volumes, Sea-Intelligence data showed year on year growth of between 4% and 11% throughout the third quarter of 2022, with annualised growth between 7% and 10%.
Total handling volumes had a similar, if slower-paced growth trend.
The Eastward shift in US container volumes was highlighted during the pandemic when queues and waiting times for vessels calling West Coast ports hit all-time highs, incentivising a shift to East Coast ports to avoid long delays.
As congestion fell off as a driver for moving volumes to the East Coast, the threat of industrial action on the West Coast still works in the favour of East Coast ports.
Sea-Intelligence’s data showed that the shift to the East Coast has trended downward since 2013. In early 2014, 1.65 containers were imported on the North America West Coast for each container imported on the East Coast. That ratio has fallen steadily since to near-parity in September 2022.
According to Alan Murphy, CEO, Sea-Intelligence, “there is a continuing volume shift from the West Coast to the East Coast ports, where handling volumes on either coast are closer to parity, whereas in the past decade, North America West Coast ports have handled considerably more volumes than the East Coast ports.”
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