Savannah, Georgia is quickly becoming a major player for Asian imports as companies shift some of their supply chain away from U.S. West Coast ports. The port is one of the many on the East Coast gaining market share, according to a Journal of Commerce story:
- During January to April of this year, overall East Coast market share was 43.5 percent for imports and 53.1 percent for exports, compared with the West Coast’s 50.1 percent for imports and 35.5 percent for exports, according to PIERS, a sister product of JOC.com within IHS Maritime & Trade. Overall East Coast market share was 47.3 percent, compared with 44.5 percent for the West Coast.
- In May, containerized cargo volume at the Port of Savannah set a record for the third consecutive month, indicating the busiest U.S. South Atlantic port continues to gain market share from regional and West Coast competitors.
- Savannah’s Asian volume boosted the port’s market share of southeastern Atlantic Coast ports (Miami to Virginia) during the first four months of 2015 to 39 percent from 34 percent during the January to April periods of 2013 and 2014.
- Through the first four months of 2015, Savannah’s TEU volume was up 20 percent from a year earlier. As the highest-volume South Atlantic gateway for Asian imports, the Georgia port benefited from West Coast port congestion that peaked last winter and only recently has receded.
It will be interesting to see if Importers stick to their guns on routing more cargo away from USWC ports, particularly in 2016 when the Panama Canal expansion opens allowing vessels up to 13,000 TEU to move to the east coast. We may see rates drop into U.S. West Coast ports as carriers try to gain back cargo lost to East Coast and Canadian ports (Vancouver and Prince Rupert). For Midwest companies, this may bring lower rates into Chicago ramps later this year and into 2016.