Solution Selector: Sea ports and ocean carriers

U.S. seaports continue to organize, train for and fund compliance with security regulations resulting from various homeland security initiatives launched after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. While these efforts haven't had much of a tangible effect on shippers, increasing trade volumes certainly have.

Congestion at ports has increased dramatically in the past year; though some port authorities have started to deal with the problems, the issues are long-term and will require infrastructure upgrades and expansion. Landside efficiency has been affected by idling rules in some ports designed to reduce air pollution, container and chassis shortages and container charges, among other factors.

The rise of offshore sourcing in Asia (specifically China) has made the situation more acute at West Coast ports, but other ports are not free from problems. Longer term, initiatives like the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the expansion of the European Union may add volume to East Coast trade, taxing those ports. (Some Chinese manufacturers are already outsourcing to western Africa.)

Importers and exporters will have to stay on top of developments at key ports as capacity can quickly get out of synch with demand. For many ports the solution to five-year growth projections may come in the form of a seven-year infrastructure project.

Bigger is better in ocean freight, at least from the perspective of ship operators. Shipbuilders' order books are strong for large container ships and the once awe-inspiring 8,000 TEU ship is now almost commonplace.

Ocean carriers gain efficiency on the seas from these large ships, but could face some problems at ports, especially as larger ships are discussed, designed and built.

With many of the ships in the Asian trades running with a substantial cargo of empty containers, using fewer ships to move large volumes of containers can help control costs. To keep containers in the pipeline, ocean carriers have added tough rules and some stiff detention fees for containers that leave the port area. U.S. importers are faced with a decision on whether to "break" the container at the port or pay to move it to and from their inland distribution center.

Third parties — some of them divisions of ocean carriers — are seeing a growing business in "deconsolidation centers" where import shipments are received, unloaded from 40-foot containers, crossdocked and reconsolidated into 53-foot trailers at a 3-to-2 ratio and moved to the destination distribution center.

With offshore manufacturing and sourcing continuing at a strong pace, the situation isn't likely to change much in the near future.

To help determine which ports and which carriers are best suited for your specific shipping needs, Logistics Today offers the exclusive Solution Selector, which matches up the ports and the ocean carriers and their respective capabilities.

All of the information in the accompanying charts, as well as in Solution Selector, was provided by the port authorities and the carriers.

Cleveland Cuyahoga County Port Authority, Maritime 13,000,000

steel, limestone, cement

steel, machinery

Georgia Ports Authority 15,310,037 anhydrous ammonia, autombiles, iron & steel wood pulp, soybeans, machinery
Illinois Int'l Port District, Port of Chicago 24,000,000 steel steel
Kansas City Smart Port
Lake Charles & Terminal Dist. 10,419,225 break bulk, petroleum rice
Massachusetts Port Authority, Maritime Dept. footwear, beer & wine hides, wastepaper
Mississippi State Port Auth. at Gulfport, Trade Development 2,300,000

fruit, general cargo, bulk

paper, frozen, general
Oregon Int'l. Port of Coos Bay 1,900,000 logs wood chips, manufactured forest products, logs
Panama City Port Authority 880,000 copper, steel, aggregate, molasses paper, wood pulp, pipe (steel)
Port of Pensacola 504,000 paper, limestone bagged goods, energy equipment
Philadelphia Reg'l Port Authority 4,000,000 fruit, meat, cocoa beans, steel, paper project/heavy lift cargoes
Plaquemines Port 53,579,090 coal, fuel oil fuel oil, coal
Port Arthur Navigation 850,000 metal, forest products forest products
Port Authority of Guam 2,067,000 general cargo, liquid bulk, automobiles, construction garments, household
Port Canaveral
Port Freeport 25,000,000

bananas, foods

Port of Anchorage 4,400,000 general cargo petroleum
Port of Baton Rouge
Port of Brownsville 3,650,690 iron, steel iron, steel
Port of Houston Authority 30,030,305
Port of Hueneme 1,000,000 fresh produce, automobiles fresh produce
Port of Longview 1,600,000


bulks, forest
Port of Los Angeles 147,500,000 furniture, apparel, electronics sastepaper, synthetic resins, fabric (including raw cotton)
Port of Milwaukee 3,000,000

salt, coal, cement

grain, machinery
Port of New Orleans 30,000,000 steel, non-ferrous metals, coffee, rubber, forest products steel, poultry, forest products
Port of Olympia aluminum, steel, break bulk roll on/roll off container forest
Port of Ponce
Port of Portland (OR) 11,957,917 automobiles, container, steel grain, mineral bulks, agricultural products
Port of Redwood City 1,500,000 cement, sand, gypsum, bauxite scrap metal
Port of Richmond (CA) 18,284,567 automobiles, break bulk liquid
Port of Richmond Terminal (VA) 43,249 tobacco, chemicals, steel, forest products tobacco products, chemicals, project cargo
Port of Sacramento 800,000 fertilizer, lumber, steel, cement rice, wheat, mineral ores, project cargo
Port of San Francisco, Maritime 2,103,299 lumber, steel
Port of Shreveport/Bossier 448,324 fertilizer, coal, petroleum
Port of South Louisiana 250,000,000 break bulk, grain, petroleum, specialized chemicals break bulk, grain, petroleum, specialized chemicals
Port of Stockton 1,856,000 cement, fertilizer products sulfur, wheat, bagged rice
Port of Wilmington (DE) 4,800,000 petroleum, fruit, juice, meat, automobiles, paper, steel, lumber paper, automobiles, bulk
St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal Dist. 2,500,000 fertilizer, ferro alloys, aggregates, steel coke, steel
Tampa Port Authority 48,500,000 petroleum, coal, liquid sulfur fertilizer, phosphate rock, citrus pellets
Toledo-Lucas Cty. Port Authority 11,000,000 iron ore coal

ABF Freight System Inc.
Air Waves Intl.
Alaska Marine Lines Inc. (Lynden)
ALG Worldwide Logistics
APL Ltd.
Atlantic Container Line
Australia/New Zealand Direct Line, CP Ships
Averitt Express
BAX Global Inc.
Commodity Logistics
Crowley Maritime Corp.
Exel Transportation Svcs. Inc.
FedEx Express
FedEx Trade Networks
FMI International
Hellmann Worldwide Logistics Inc.
Hyundai Merchant Marine
ICAT Logistics
Koch Logistics
Lithogistics Inc.
Maersk Logistics
Megatrux Inc.
Overseas Orient Container Line
Ozburn-Hessey Logistics
P&O Nedlloyd Logistics
Pilot Air Freight
Roadway Express Inc.
Ruan Transportation Svcs.
Schneider Logistics
The Delco Group Ltd.
UPS Supply Chain Solutions
Viking Logistics
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