Port of New York breaks trade record, but California bounces back

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Containers are parked at the GCT New York Container Terminal on Staten Island on October 20, 2022 in New York City.

Gary Hershorn | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The Ports of New York and New Jersey handled nearly 9.5 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) in 2022. For the first time in its history, the port has passed the nine million container mark and is another sign of its importance in the global supply chain. as more trade moved away from the West Coast.

The Port of New York has increased the number of containers it moves every year since 2017, and in 2022, in particular, has benefited from the threat of labor strikes at West Coast ports, which has forced logistics managers to reroute trade.

While the Ports of New York and New Jersey came in second overall—recording a total of 9,493,664,000 containers in total handled, behind the Port of Los Angeles with 9,911,158 TFEs—in recent months, the port New York took the first place from California as the nation’s busiest port. The Port of Long Beach handled 9.13 million TEUs last year.

“These 9.5 [million] TEUs are up more than 27% from 2019 levels, said Bethan Rooney, director of the Port of New York and New Jersey. “This is a staggering growth rate compared to our historical growth of 3.5% per year.”

East Coast and Gulf Coast ports were invest over many years to increase market share on an ongoing basis, but the West Coast has an advantage in ocean travel time, which some experts believe will eventually bring more trade to California when work issues to weaken

Union Pacific CEO Lance Fritz told CNBC on Tuesday that his company is hearing more positive developments in labor talks, saying “the temperature is relatively low” and saying that the chief executives of the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach expect to reach agreements, though the timelines remain uncertain. Flexport CEO Ryan Peterson Recently, he told CNBC that the East Coast lead would last “until they sign a contract … hopefully that’s soon … If they have stability on the West Coast, it doesn’t really make sense to spend an extra two weeks crossing over to move to the East Coast. It’s a lot faster if you get it through the West,” he said.

For the first time in four months, New York City handled fewer containers than the Port of Los Angeles, moving 613,011 containers, compared to Los Angeles’ 728,871 in December.

“Since October, we have seen a sharp decline in volumes in the markets as well,” Rooney said. “We expect more normalized levels in the second half of the year.”

In a recent CNBC supply chain survey, nearly a third of logistics managers at large companies and trade groups say they don’t know how much trade they would bring back to the West Coast after a key labor deal is reached. The survey surveyed 341 logistics managers during the week of December 12-19 at companies that are members of the National Retail Federation, the American Apparel & Footwear Association, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, the Pacific Coast Council, the Agricultural Transportation Coalition . and the New England Trade Companies Coalition.

Overall trade volumes were down in most key categories, as evidenced by Union Pacific’s earnings earlier this week. The decline in the volume of goods entering the US eats away at the revenues of railways and transport companies, which are paid for the amount of goods they carry – the rails handle 40% of the goods in the country’s commodity economy. Union Pacific’s Fritz told CNBC on Tuesday that while domestic cargo movement is an option and different from the battle between coastal ports, it cannot compensate for lower overall cargo and a housing and consumer market that looks “fragile.” with consumers “grabbing by the horns.”

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