A pronounced shift in traffic from the Panama to the Suez Canal is bringing increased market share to east coast US and Canadian ports, notes Danish container research firm SeaIntel.
"As more Asia-North American east coast services shift from Panama to Suez, more cargo is imported through eastern ports, instead of being railed from the west coast," said SeaIntel chief operating officer Alan Murphy.
"We expect this to intensify as carriers can deploy larger vessels, with lower cost per container, without having a significantly longer transit time, direct to the densely populated urban centres on the east coast," he said.
Eighteen of 19 big container ports in Canada and the US posted a seven per cent increase in volume to 42 million TEU in 2012 since 2006 despite the 2008 global downturn, said the report.
Big losers, according to Lloyd's List, were California ports whose market share dropped from 46.7 to 41 per cent while Atlantic ports moved from 28.2 to 33.2 per cent.
SeaIntel's analysis also shows that an increasing share of containers imported through west coast ports are exported through east coast ports in North America, according to the Shipping Gazette.