Seaports across North America spent last year playing catch-up after the disruptions caused by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and the resurgence in freight demand as the economy recovered. Despite numerous challenges including supply shortages and container backlogs, several major ports recorded record-breaking years in terms of container volumes in 2021.
This growth is evident on Transport Topics’ new Top 25 list of the largest container ports in North America. The list ranks ports on the basis of 2021 cargo throughput as measured in 20-foot-equivalent units, or TEUs.
As global trade continues to slow, its is impact the shipping industry as well as ports and related businesses. The effects are beginning to show in more forecasts with the National Retail Federation, for example, today lowering its projection for U.S. imports. While still forecasting a “healthy” and “positive” holiday retailing season in the United States, they foresee an accelerating decline in imports into 2023.
“Global trade is showing an unsteady path, even if this development is not evenly distributed across all countries,” notes Vincent Stamer, Head of Kiel Trade Indicator, in the latest update on the widely followed economic report for Germany and the EU.
A dispute between two unions over which workers get certain jobs at a cargo-handling terminal at the Port of Seattle is holding up labor talks between West Coast dockworkers and their employers.
Shipping industry officials had hoped the talks, which began in May, would have concluded around now. Instead, officials say the discussions have stalled for about three months after dockworkers declined to discuss major contract issues pending resolution of the dispute at Seattle.
The Seattle dispute pits the International Longshore and Warehouse Union against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.