Infrastructure Woes Not Likely to End Soon at US Ports

Despite actions by the Department of Transportation US Ports have a long way to go particularly on the West Coast

Despite actions taken by the DOT after Congress has passed its 1.2 trillion dollar infrastructure bill, available data showing supply chain issues will be around for the foreseeable future. The Port of Los Angeles is pushing waiting container ships out past the horizon to help reduce the sight of congestion in the west coast. The Neo-Panamax port has longshoreman working 6 days a week according to the director of the port. The West Coast is getting alleviation on empties and several liners and rail companies have incentivized early delivery by handlers, but they will find it difficult to copy solutions the East Coast deepwater ports like Savannah have done such as moving containers away from the port to newly purchased real estate closer to the end destination of said containers. Given only 4 billion of the 14 billion earmarked for US Ports will go to deepening upgrades and repairs to existing gantry cranes and container cranes (deepening projects run the US Army Corps of Engineers roughly ~1 billion per port), US ports will find it hard to improve capacity and unload more size efficient Post Neo-Panamax ship designs. Maybe Nevada and California can some kind of agreement over container stowage space, but given how they can’t agree on water I don’t see that likely in the near future. This disproportionate backlog in the United States-Asia trade despite Trump era tariffs still pervading the trade imbalance, gives caution to US manufacturers and retailers who are reliant on offshore goods from the region.

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