The number of 13,000+ TEU container ships deployed to the Asia – U.S. West Coast trade has nearly doubled since the start of 2017, raising questions about the ability of U.S. terminals to serve ‘mega-ships’.
Even more pressure is being created by a reduction in weekly services (effective April 1), which means more cargo is being squeezed into fewer weekly services at the same time as terminal operations are slowed by major ongoing construction projects. Carriers are responding by cancelling plans to build the biggest mega ships (18,000 TEU) and are instead focusing on 14,000 TEU units.
U.S. West Coast ports must ensure their congestion is kept under control. One only needs to remember the major disruptions caused by the U.S. West Coast ports in late 2014/early 2015. This was one of the main contributing factors for the dramatic growth of Canadian West Coast ports like Prince Rupert, British Columbia as an attractive alternative for U.S. inbound container traffic on the Trans-Pacific trade lane.
For more information, contact David Lychek, Manager – Ocean & Air Services.