THE US has experienced a shift in the past several months, as container vessels sought to avoid severe congestion on the west coast and moved increasingly to the east coast.
East coast ports have been under pressure, handling higher volumes, longer dwell times and an empty container glut that has caught the attention of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC).
The Port of Baltimore is among the ports dealing with higher-than-normal volumes. While the new business the port has taken on is welcomed, it has also presented challenges, including protests from a small group of owner-operator truckers who object to their long waits to pick up containers, reports Singapore's Splash 247.
William Doyle, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration, pointed out that those same truckers, said during their protest that they had "never seen this many trucks go in and out of this port so fast."
That being the case, it's likely that the port is seeing the benefits of several infrastructure- and process-improvement projects at Seagirt Marine Terminal that it has undertaken over the last few months.
Projects in the spring and summer months this year include the implementation of a paperless procedure at outbound gates, installation of new postpanamax cranes at Berth 3 that can handle two 16,000 TEU vessels, and implementation of a digital pre-advice/appointment system to maximise transparency between the trucking community and the terminal.
In the autumn, plans call for implementation of a paperless process at inbound gates, the opening of new inbound lanes that will increase the number of lanes at one gate by 40 per cent and a new outbound gate that will increase capacity by 50 per cent, the opening of an empty container depot, modernisation of the port's intermodal container transfer facility, and the installation of 15 new rubber tyre gantry cranes.
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