Most US Ports Are Still Woefully Unprepared to Welcome the New Generation of Megaships
On the day after Christmas, the largest container ship to call at a US port will stop by the
That's a big problem. Larger, newer, more emissions-friendly ships are good news for many environmental reasons, and could vastly improve economic prospects for global trade-but not unless
Cranes are made taller with yellow lifts at the Port of LA
Some ports have been getting ready by undergoing some intense upgrades. The Port of LA has already added little yellow crane extenders-basically lifts in its shoes-to be able to hoist containers higher, and dredging its channel to allow safe passage of these "deep-draft" vessels (in fact, the port got an additional $1.2 billion for more dredging just this week).
But just the terminal improvements likely aren't enough to actually unload the cargo efficiently, according to analysts at the maritime research group Drewry that were published by Container Insight Weekly . There needs to be a massive systemic upgrade, from railway infrastructure to crane automation that can support the increased volume of containers:
"Introducing too many ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs) to the West Coast ports before they are fully ready would most likely worsen productivity, rather than improve matters, and could add days to the load and discharge time for boxes at terminals, thus undermining the USWC's competitiveness versus the USEC," Drewry noted.
Those abbreviations in the last line means exactly what you think they do-that ports on the West Coast might start to lose out to East Coast ports, especially now that some ships can take a recently deepened, widened Panama Canal. This also could create trouble for LA especially-right now the
largest port in the Western Hemisphere
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