In a bid to give shippers a higher incentive over higher truck rates, a number of US East Coast (USEC) ports are spreading their intermodal reach to their hinterlands, according to the Journal of Commerce.
Ports in the East Coast region are also planning new facilities which are expected to fuel rivalries between ports inland that have been traditionally tied to the South East coastline.
Jim Newsome, President and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority, said: “This is the next trend in east coast distribution, these inland ports. The ports are interested because an inland port can make cargo sticky to your port. The railroads are interested because their coal volumes are down.”
South Carolina’s inland port in Greer reported 58,000 intermodal lifts in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015.
Mr Newsome said: “It’s clearly on pace to do over 70,000 lifts this year. I said when it opened in 2013 it had the chance to do 100,000 lifts in five years, so we’re clearly ahead of pace.”
The Panama Canal expansion, due to be completed in 2016, is anticipated to boost trade flows around the US, as ship sizes more than double from around 5,000 TEU to the post-Panamax ships of around 14,000 TEU.