2015 best year ever for U.S. East Coast container imports, says BIMCO

2015 was a busy year for container traffic on the eastern coast of the US. 

7.9 million TEU of loaded containers entered the US East Coast in 2015, a 12.6% increase – compared to 7 million in 2014.

While the US East Coast ports experienced a surge in incoming traffic, labour issues and port congestion gloomed over the US West Coast.

The start of 2015 was dominated by the ongoing contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). 

The conflict between the two parties led to substantial congestion at ports on the western coast, with dozens of ships anchored waiting for berths to open.

Chief Shipping Analyst at BIMCO, Peter Sand says, “As the conflict on the US West Coast dragged out, some of the traffic was diverted to US East Coast ports. These ports benefitted greatly from the diverted traffic but also from the fact that this happened at time when personal consumption of goods in the US was on the rise.”

According to BIMCO’s data for 2015, US East Coast ports handled almost 900,000 TEUs more than in 2014 – a rise of 12.6%. 

Imports via US West Coast ports rose at 0.4%.

“Going forward, one of the big questions will be whether or not the US East Coast ports can hang on to this new business,” he added.  

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