U.S. coastal travel gains traction as shippers examine routes and emissions
MSC’s move last month of its autonomous trans-Pacific service from Santana from the U.S. west coast to the east could see other carriers follow suit, speeding up the coastal move.
Supply chain uncertainty caused by severe docking delays at U.S. West Coast hubs, along with intermodal delays and skyrocketing transportation costs, is prompting shippers to rethink the forwarding.
In addition, shippers take into account the benefit of reducing their carbon footprint through the use of all-water liner services.
MSC said today that “after the successful relocation” of the Santana Loop, it will add the Port of Houston to its rotation from Charleston and New York to the east coast of the United States.
The carrier said it was reacting to “continued strong demand on this trade,” suggesting it might consider further transfers or service upgrades.
According to data from Alphaliner, the new Santana loop now includes a stopover in Haiphong, in northern Vietnam, as well as in the Chinese ports of Shanghai and Ningbo, and will deploy 10 ships of 4,300 to 6,500 teu, turning in ten weeks.
The old Santana service was due to run in five weeks, calling at Portland and Tacoma on the west coast of the United States.
The number of container ships waiting at anchor in the San Pedro Bay area for berth and manpower available – as well as vessels tasked with drifting or slowing down to 150 miles distance – consistently exceeds 80, with some vessels having to wait up to two months to work.
These significant delays at the west coast ports have resulted in a number of dry-run trans-Pacific carriers, as well as the postponement of the launch of so-called express services.
The latest data compiled by New York-based consulting firm Blue Alpha Capital provides further evidence of the coastal shift in container import volumes into the United States. Import volumes at the top ten U.S. container hubs for October saw east coast ports outpace their west coast rivals, with a total of 1,078,817 TEUs unloaded from visiting ships, compared to 1,057,045 TEUs disembarked from the west coast ships.
For the East Coast and Gulf terminals, this represents a healthy 7.9% year-over-year growth, while the West Coast ports experienced a 4.8% drop in import throughput.
“October was the fifth consecutive month of a performance dichotomy between west and east coast port beaches, with the latter performing significantly better,” said report author, industry veteran John D McCown.
Meanwhile, Hapag-Lloyd announced that its Atlantic Loop 3 service, between Northern Europe and the east coast of the United States, has re-established a stopover in Savannah after temporarily shutting down the port due to earlier congestion. .