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January 2 2023

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40 Journal of Commerce | January 2, 2023 Maritime The big picture: US Gulf Coast ports — particularly Houston and Mobile — are looking to capitalize on the outsized growth in imports they enjoyed last year as carriers deployed new trans-Pacific and north–south services to the region via long-term capacity upgrades and intermodal rail projects. expansion projects, including dredging to allow bigger ships to call there, but those projects will not be complete until 2025 at the earliest. In addition to dredging, the ports are adding terminal capacity in staggered intervals. Houston's Bayport terminal will add three new ship-to-shore cranes and 26 yard cranes in 2023, as well as an additional 20 acres of space in 2024. Houston has started initial planning for a rail spur to Bayport so it can offer on-dock intermodal service, but there is no timeline yet for when that work will be done. Mobile has approved a 25 percent increase in acreage for its container terminal, but that expansion will be phased in over 2024 and 2025. Groundbreaking on upgrades to 280 miles of Norfolk Southern track out of Mobile to allow double stacking of containers is also expected in 2023, with completion expected in 2025. CSX is also expected to start work on an intermodal container facility near Montgomery, Ala., next year. The new normal: Houston's marine terminals in the second half of 2022 leaned on off-dock yards to handle overflow from surging container volumes and opened Saturday gates to reduce weekday congestion, but participation from truckers was low, so it's not clear whether they will continue to do so in 2023. Still, Houston is looking at other ways to incentivize cargo flow, including more strictly enforcing rules about the number of exports that can be received and fees for long-dwelling imports. Mobile's marine termi - nal has also begun charging a fee for missed truck appointments to encourage fluidity. JOC email: twitter: @michael_angell and South America, during the year in response to the increasing number of shippers diversifying their port gate- ways and adding distribution capacity in the Gulf region. Houston led the way in industrial lease signings for the first three quarters of 2022 at 24.1 million square feet, putting the area on track for the most ever square footage leased in a single year, according to real estate developer and research firm CBRE. Mobile doesn't have the population density to support that much warehousing, but Amazon, FedEx, and grocery chain Aldi have all opened or are opening distribution sites in Alabama. Thanks to a lack of congestion and north– south intermodal service, Mobile offered an alternative to crowded West Coast ports, prompting one major retailer to bring four chartered vessels full of freight destined for Chicago to Mobile to avoid inter - modal congestion on the West Coast, the port said in July. A look ahead: Houston and Mobile are both in the middle of major A look back: Imports from Asia through the ports of Houston and Mobile jumped 33.9 percent and 16.3 percent, respectively, in the first ten months of 2022, according to data from PIERS, a sister product of the Journal of Commerce within S&P Global. Mediterranean Shipping Co., Maersk, and Transfar Shipping, among others, added calls to both ports from Asia, as well as Central Growth spurt US Gulf ports aim to sustain volume gains aer banner 2022 By Michael Angell Both Houston and Mobile (pictured) struggled to keep up with major growth in 2022. APM Terminals Gulf Coast Asian imports spike 27.4 percent through October US containerized imports from Asia via Gulf Coast ports, with year-over-year change TEU volume 100,000 0 20,000 40,000 60,000 80,000 100,000 120,000 100% -40% -20% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% Year-over-year % change L Jul Nov Sep May Mar Jan 2022 Nov TEU Year-over-year % change Oct, 2022N 95,803 100,000 60% 60% TEU: 114.2k Year-over-year % change: er-year % chan 12.6% Source: PIERS, S&P Global © 2022 S&P Global ANNUAL REVIEW & OUTLOOK 2023

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