Ships nearly three times as large as the ones crossing before the expanded locks opened in June of 2016 are bringing tens of millions of additional dollars in tolls and a trading boom to U.S. East Coast ports, allaying some fears that investments to cater to the bigger vessels wouldn’t see enough returns.
Since the start of the year, transiting tonnage at the Panama Canal has increased by nearly 23%, canal executives say. Last week marked the 2,000th transit of a ship that wouldn’t have fit through the old locks.
. . . The widened waterway means importers as far inland as Tennessee could find it cheaper to bring in Asian goods to ports like New York, Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., rather than move them by rail and truck from West Coast ports, which handle about two-thirds of Asia-to-Americas trade.
California accounted for 11.4 percent of the nation’s overall merchandise export trade in August. Through the first seven months of 2017, the state’s exports are running 5.3 percent ahead of last year.
In what has been an up-and-down year, California businesses exported merchandise valued at $13.3 billion in July, down a modest 1.5 percent from shipments valued at $13.51 billion in July 2016.
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which together make up the nation’s largest port complex, set new records in cargo movement last month.
The Port of Long Beach had its highest monthly cargo movement in its 106-year history in July, moving 720,312 cargo containers, known as 20-foot-equivalent units or TEUs, up 6.4 percent compared to the same period a year ago. The port beat its previous record set in August 2015.
The U.S. trade gap narrowed sharply in June as a strengthening global economy pushes up demand for American exports overseas.
The trade deficit with other nations contracted 5.9% from a month earlier to $43.64 billion, the Commerce Department said Friday. The deficit fell because exports rose 1.2% while imports fell 0.2%. ...