Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Several forward-looking trade indicators are signaling another banner year for East Coast ports. Data from multiple sources show U.S. importers are opening their wallets for East Coast transit.
“Our data clearly shows that shippers are fed up with the logjam,” on the West Coast, explained Peter Sand, chief analyst at Xeneta. He added the shippers would be “happy” to pay extra for East Coast destinations.
“We can also see priority shipment fees for the [East Coast] are considerably higher,” Sand added, noting that the last-minute desperation among shippers is pushing up fees.
“Virginia and Charleston are strongly up a full year,” Sand said. “We are still waiting for full-year data for [Port of New York and New Jersey] for November. They are always the last to report.”
East Coast vs. West Coast volumes
Since the widening of the Panama Canal, the trend of trade flowing to the East Coast has been growing. The accelerant of this trade expansion is the circumventing of West Coast congestion and the investments being made at the ports to accommodate the larger vessels.
The investment is paying off.
“Freightos.com Marketplace search data shows the share of Asia-U.S. ocean shipment searches that are conducted for East Coast as a destination has increased from 21% to 26% since October,” explained Eytan Buchman, chief marketing officer of Freightos. “That’s a 23% increase but well below the 33% share of East Coast searches in early 2021 when we saw the beginning of the congestion problems.”
While Lunar New Year will offer the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach a chance to play container catch-up, it will not fix the inherent problems plaguing those ports. Trade likes to move through clear pipes and that’s what the East Coast is offering.