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October 1 2018

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October 1 2018 | The Journal of Commerce 15 www.joc.com International Maritime market share. The eastbound trans-Pa- cific is by far the largest US trade lane and is open to competition among ports on all three coasts. The key to the top-tier ports' domi- nant share of Asian imports is that car- riers have chosen the four gateways as the first call inbound on their services from Asia. This ensures what retailers and other large importers value most: speed to large local markets. A second tier of ports in the import trade from Asia — Oakland, Norfolk, Houston, and Charleston — had imports in the first half of 2018 ranging from 224,000 to 335,000 TEU. Those ports are still growing their Asian imports as the total pie gets bigger, and they are taking steps to enhance their attractiveness for imports from Asia. In fact, some retailers have chosen to locate import distribution centers near those ports because they fit well into their logistics operations. Oakland is building a large logistics center adjacent to marine terminals for possible transloading of imports into domestic containers and trailers. Norfolk has addressed tunnel clearances that inhibited intermodal rail access for double-stack trains, and Charleston is reaping the benefits of growing imports generated by its investments in inland ports at Greer and Dillon, South Carolina. Furthermore, although most of the national retailers have located their LOS ANGELES-LONG BEACH, New York- New Jersey, Savannah, and Seattle-Ta- coma are attracting a larger share of US imports from Asia because of their strategic locations serving coastal and inland population centers. However, competing ports in their regions also are implementing measures to make themselves more attractive as import load centers. According to PIERS, a sister compa- ny of The Journal of Commerce within IHS Markit, the four largest ports for Asian imports have containerized volumes and market shares at least twice those of the second-tier import gateways. In the first half of 2018, Los An- geles-Long Beach handled 3.8 million loaded TEU, or 49.1 percent of US containerized imports. New York-New Jersey handled 853,405 TEU for an 11 percent market share. Savannah was next at 674,869 TEU, or an 8.7 percent market share, and Seattle-Tacoma handled 585,828 TEU for a 7.5 percent largest import distribution centers close to the major load center ports, a desire to diversify and the growing trend to have e-commerce fulfillment centers closer to consuming markets are driving imports through second-tier gateways. As a result, a five-year analysis of imports based on numbers from PIERS shows stronger percentage growth at the second-tier ports. Houston's Asian imports increased 148.6 percent from 2013 to 2017, Charleston's were up 83.6 percent, and Norfolk's rose 53 percent. Oakland's Asian imports increased 12.7 percent, but due to the large local population and intermodal connections to the eastern half of the country in Southern California, carriers discharge 80 percent to 100 percent of their im - ports in Los Angeles-Long Beach before the vessels move up to Oakland. The four load center ports, while boasting much larger volumes, are grow- ing more slowly than the second-tier ports. Los Angeles-Long Beach's Asian imports in 2017 were 12.7 percent higher than in 2013. New York-New Jersey's were up 24.5 percent, Savannah's jumped 63.5 percent, and Asian imports through the Northwest Seaport Alliance of Seattle and Tacoma, having lost some cargo share to Vancouver and Prince Rupert, edged up 1.5 percent. Exports grow at second-tier ports Furthermore, while those ports may be second-tier in terms of Asian imports, they are capitalizing on factors such as deep harbors capable of handling vessels loaded with heavy export cargoes, favor- able outbound intermodal rail services, and last-port-calls outbound to expand their roles as export gateways. PIERS numbers show the East Coast ports were the fastest-growing gateways for Asian imports, primarily because of the doubling of vessel sizes to 10,000-TEU-plus capacity since the widening of the Panama Canal in 2016 and the raising of the Bayonne Bridge in New York-New Jersey in the summer of 2017. First-half 2018 Asian imports in- creased 9.4 percent in Savannah, almost 7 percent in New York-New Jersey, and 4.9 percent in Los Angeles-Long Beach compared with the first half of 2017. The Northwest Seaport Alliance of Seattle and Tacoma was the only major gateway to experience a decline in Asian imports. The 2.2 percent drop resulted from fierce competition from the Canadian ports of Vancouver and Gates open for imports Asia import shares grow at load center ports and even faster at second-tier competitors By Bill Mongelluzzo Speed to market drives US importers' decisions. steve estvanik / Shutterstock.com Despite the growing dominance of the four major import gateways, the overall growth in US imports in the first half of 2018 has benefited most ports. Importing & Exporting | Ports | Carriers | Breakbulk | Global Logistics

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