As the scale of global trade increases, a number of small and medium-sized ports are at risk of disappearing from the map as containerships switch to larger ports that can handle the increase in volumes, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Ports such as the Port of Portland are one of the ports at risk after the last major container line stopped its service earlier in 2015 – an event that caused a sharp increase in transportation costs.
Paul Bingham, an Economist with the Economic Development Research Group, said: “The reality is those [smaller] ports are not going to be able to sustain themselves and be competitive handling the deep-sea vessels that will be in prominent use on major East-West trade routes.”
As ship sizes continue to boom, some ports are unable to handle the increase in trade, including Portland, which is situated too far inland and can be subject to severe delays.
Many ports in the US are already preparing for the massive increase in trade that is expected to be facilitated through the expansion of the Panama Canal, which is due to be completed in early 2016, with some forking out billions on new infrastructure in order to sustain themselves.