The trade diversion continues, with the ports of New York and New Jersey ranking first in the number of import and export containers in August. The Port of Los Angeles dropped to third behind Long Beach.

The Ports of New York and New Jersey handled 843,191 import and export containers. The port’s five busiest months are in 2022, including August.

“We’re surpassing pre-COVID numbers – that’s amazing – and that’s a credit to the men and women who move cargo with such efficiency,” said Kevin O’Toole, chairman of the Port Authority. “Our plans with rail to complement the real infrastructure and the dredging are allowing us to get that extra capacity that wouldn’t have happened four or five years ago.”

The Port of Los Angeles ranked third in the country in August, moving 805,314 containers. This was 37,877 containers less than the ports of New York and New Jersey. The Port of Long Beach 806,940 export-import containers were processed.

Project44 broke the stickiness of trade diversion.

An increase in the number of ships calling at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports is increasing dock wait times. This increases delays in the materials manufacturers need to complete their products or get finished products on store shelves.

This week, MarineTraffic monitored 28 container ships awaiting departure Port of Savannah in Georgia with an average wait to berth of 9.9 days. For the Port of New York and New Jersey, 12 container ships wait an average of nine days. Port Houston 25 container ships are at anchor and waiting for eight days.

Declining demand for West Coast ocean freight has hit rates hard.

“A week ago we had a new record gap between spot rates from the Far East to both coasts,” said Peter Sand, chief analyst at Xeneta. “It’s a sign to me that the congestion on the west coast is almost cleared and the volumes coming in can be controlled for the ports and terminals. This has caused rates for trans-Pacific cargoes to drop faster than for cargo bound for the East Coast.

“If you adjust for retail inflation, U.S. retail sales were about the same as last month, so demand didn’t fall sharply,” Sand continued. Shippers continue to bring many containers to the East and West coasts, as well as the Gulf Coast. Congestion on the U.S. East Coast remains elevated, coupled with additional disruptions along the coast due to issues in Northern Europe. Shippers are still hesitant to return diverted cargo to the US West Coast.”

There are logistical winners in this trade movement, and they are rails. CSX, Norfolk Southern rails moves import and export containers on the East Coast. Berkshire Hathaway-owned BNSF and Union Pacific move containers in and out of the Port of Houston.

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