Container traffic hit an all time low for the Port of New York/New Jersey (PNYNJ) in the 1980’s, but a shift in container traffic to the East Coast of North America has seen a boom for the port which used to be the continent’s biggest. The rate of the surge in container traffic has meant a 65% increase since 1998, nearly twice the national average in the United States.

This increase in container traffic from Post-Panamax vessels has created a flurry of infrastructure work at the port to accommodate this increase. The construction of warehouses, container piers, and most importantly, dredging in the shallow channels has to be completed if the port can handle these mega vessels. But even the large development plans cannot guarantee that the largest vessels will be able to call at PNYNJ fully loaded, because of continuing air and water draft issues.

This creates opportunity for ports in the Atlantica region like Halifax with its naturally deep harbour to accommodate overflow capacity which New York/New Jersey is unable to handle. Halifax will increasingly be the gateway, not only to Atlantica, but to PNYNJ because only in Halifax can post-Panamax ships traveling to New York via the Suez Canal lighten their load to fit the capacities of the PNYNJ harbour.

You can access the FLOOD TIDE article by Eric Clipton in the New York Times at by searching for “New York Port Hums Again”.