As a result of the slump in trade from China, US West Coast ports have handled their lowest share of containerised imports in March, 2016 since the labour dispute which rocked a number of ports along the USWC in early 2015, according to the Wall Street Journal.
It was reported that USWC ports imported 43.6% of containerised cargo in March, 2016, in comparison to the 50% recorded in previous months.
Jock O’Connell, a Trade Economist with Beacon explained that Chinese trade has hit USWC ports harder than that seen in other regions.
O’Connell said: “A sharp drop in trade from China will seriously skew the import value numbers for West Coast ports.”
PTI previously reported that ports along the USWC are facing increasing levels of competition from East Coast ports.
This could be set to increase with the opening of the Panama Canal, however, with the USWC recently accommodating 18,000 TEU class ships, the real challenge will be in servicing the larger volumes that go there.
Automation has been seen as the logical response for this new trend and the ultimate test will be in not only examining how effectively the USWC can handle big ships, but also simultaneous mega-ship calls.