C&W Industrial Research MarketNote: Major Shift in Container Traffic from West to East and Gulf coast Ports
Retailers and other importers began to divert shipments to ports in Canada and on the East Coast in anticipation of the July 1, 2014 expiration of the ILWU contract. The labor showdown, which exacerbated U.S. West Coast port congestion, helped pull down container volumes at West Coast ports which plummeted 24% in the first two months of 2015 compared to 2014. The significant drop in volume was distributed all along the west coast, although the percentage decline in container volume was greater in the California ports. The total container volume in Los Angeles-Long Beach was down 18.2% year-over-year in the first two months of 2015 and Oakland’s volume declined 31.6% in the same period. Container volumes through the ports of Seattle-Tacoma continued to struggle, dipping 9.3%. Meanwhile, some East Coast ports are reporting double-digit increases, with Charleston reporting an annual increase of 17.9% through February.