For the first time in a long time, the ports of New York and New Jersey ranked second in the United States by volume shipped from January to May. The Port of Long Beach, California, has for some time been the second busiest port in the country behind its close neighbor, the Port of Los Angeles.
In terms of 20-foot equivalent loaded (also called EVP, standard measure of shipment volume), imports and exports through the port of New York increased by 4.3% over the same periods of time. five months in 2018 and 2019. Long Beach's EVP volume, on the other hand, decreased by 9%.
With only five months of data reported for 2019, Long Beach could recover its No. 2 rankings by the end of the year. At the end of May, New York dominated only 4%. And historically, Long Beach's import and export volumes peaked in July, August, and October, so its shipment volume could well exceed that of New York during the second half of the year. of this year. However, Port Authority officials said it has been decades since New York was busier at the beginning of the year.
With respect to the port of Southern California, the shipping industry is relying on new market forces, including the US-China trade war. Each country has imposed tariffs on products for billions of dollars. On the west coast, Long Beach is more vulnerable to fluctuations in the volume of shipments with West Asian countries. Although Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping have agreed not to impose new tariffs at the moment, as the two countries are discussing a trade deal, the tariff battle has no end in sight.
The trade war is not the only driving force behind the reversal of the ranking between New York and Long Beach. The lifting of the Bayonne Bridge, completed in 2017, allowed large Panamax transport vessels to reach the Newark and Elizabeth ports in New Jersey and the Howland Hook marine terminal in Staten Island. The New York Railways also offer an advantage, said Sam Ruda, port manager of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
"The growth rate of rail on the west coast has slowed," he said. "It's much more cost-effective to cross the east coast – it's a function of the rail economy."
Ruda added, "This is not just a New York phenomenon, I think the southern competing ports would say the same thing." These ports include Norfolk, Virginia; Savannah, Ga .; and Charleston, S.C.