In late June 2016, the Panama Canal reopened after being enlarged to allow passage of deeper-reaching transport vessels. Now the bigger canal could upset the maritime traffic pattern which currently skews to the West Coast, thus reviving the once robust cargo shipping hub along the Northeastern Seaboard.
One East Coast port particularly poised to increase inbound shipping is the Port of Philadelphia. Larger and more frequent shipments are likely to come through the Panama Canal, cruising inland and increasing the amount of cargo travelling along Pennsylvania's roadways. According to analysts at PennLive.com, "that influx could spell more trucks, more traffic and more logistics centers, continuing to grow what is already one of the largest employment sectors in [Pennsylvania]" and potentially putting "more trucks on [PA's] aging highways, many of which are already at capacity."
According to the Philadelphia Port Authority, the port is hoping to double its capacity over the next decade. The waterfront handles large volumes of automobiles, pallets and containers, and steel and project cargoes. Increasing popularity stems from immediate access to two major rail yards and interstate highways which ensure fast inland connections for freighters.
If the Panama Canal updates increase East Coast shipping, "there could be a massive amount of freight -- and money and thus jobs -- up for grabs," PennLive speculates, saying, "even [disregarding] the reopening of the Panama Canal, freight movement through the region is expected to grow over the next decade."
In a 2016 statewide freight study, PennDOT noted that if more freight shifted to the East Coast, likely impacts would be increased truck volumes on key highways—I-81, I-83, I-78, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-95, I-70 and I-80—particularly I-81, which is already one of the busiest freight corridors in the state.
Though the impacts of these developments are still unclear for over-height transport and cargo shipping, Kenco is closely following the developments of East Coast ports. With aging infrastructure and high-volume traffic, loads leaving the Port of Philadelphia require extra safety precautions and attention to details and regulations. As always, we are committed to delivering your over-dimension load safely and efficiently.
Give us a call at 281.459.3100 to discuss your upcoming over-height load, and check back here soon for more industry updates.