U.S. East Coast congestion puts pressure on New York and Savannah terminals

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U.S. East Coast congestion puts pressure on New York and Savannah terminals

Several major container ports in the U.S. East Coast are experiencing elevated levels of congestion, but a few remain relatively free flowing and uncongested.

Container lines are repositioning services away from the U.S, West Coast, where waiting times hit once in a generation levels over the global COVID-19 pandemic, wrote Vivek Srivastava, who is Senior Trade Analyst at VesselsValue,in a commentary

As a result, the strain on U.S. East Coast logistics has increased. Of the top ten U.S. East Coast Container terminals, four currently exhibit long waiting times: New York and Elizabeth APM Terminals which are both part of the Port of New York, and Garden City and Savannah Terminal (both Port of Savannah).

Average waiting times at the Port of New York have ranged between 20 and 50 hours for most of this year. This is far higher than last year’s levels, which rarely exceeded 20 hours, and the three average, which rarely exceeded 10 hours.

In addition, the four congested terminals are among the busiest in the U.S. East Coast and handle bigger ships, including the biggest type, Ultra Large Container Vessels (ULCVs).

On the other hand, six of the top ten continue to function normally: Norfolk International and Virginia International Gateway Terminals, both at the Port of Norfolk, Maher and Port Newark Terminals (both Port of New York), Packer Avenue Terminal (Port of Philadelphia) and Wando Welch Terminal (Port of Charleston).

These ports exhibit relatively short waiting times. For example, average waiting times for containerships at Norfolk have rarely exceeded 6 hours in recent history and are currently almost nothing.

Moreover, Virginia International Gateway and Wando Welch have also handled ULCVs this year, so easier and faster transit for the biggest ships is still possible.

“Shippers and Lines that have any flexibility in their schedules should consider alternative routes into key markets, such as the U.S. East Coast,” Srivastava suggested.

VesselsValue’s new congestion feature launches this Autumn.

To read Srivastava’s full commentary and see VesselsValue’s graphs, please click here.

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