As shippers continue to search for reliable port capacity in the face of a dynamic logistics environment, many are turning to North Carolina. In the fiscal year 2022, the Port of Wilmington saw a staggering 2.8 million tons of general cargo, breaking previous volume records and showing a 28% YoY increase, according to WilmingtonBiz.
With shippers continuing to shift volume to the East Coast, many are wondering what’s behind the shipping boom at the Port of Wilmington and how they can best take advantage of emerging trends in the transportation industry. We’ve dug into what’s behind the boom in the Tar Heel state, what’s next, and how shippers can use single-source logistics to take advantage of a growing hub in container transportation.
The Eastward Shift Driving Growth at Ports in North Carolina
While Wilmington and other North Carolina ports are making headlines, they aren’t the only ports seeing increased volume. Throughout the East Coast, ports are seeing booming volumes as a result of a number of factors:
- Congestion Burn-Out – Following a turbulent few years, congestion-weary shippers are looking to reallocate volume from busy West Coast ports to less congested East Coast transportation hubs. The Port of Los Angeles, which saw significant pandemic-era congestion, saw a 15% drop in volume YoY in September 2022, according to FurnitureToday.
- Labor Anxiety – As contract negotiations loom, strike-wary shippers search for alternatives to West Coast ports. During a trucker protest against California’s controversial AB5 bill in 2022, the Port of Oakland saw a significant reduction in volume, as Alex Charvalias, Supply Chain In-Transit Visibility Lead at ship tracking software company Marine Traffic told CNBC: “We are already seeing vessels skipping Oakland. Comparing vessel schedules one week ago versus today, expected arrivals until the end of August have already dropped 16%.”
With these pressures pushing volumes Eastward, North Carolina shippers are wondering what the rest of 2023 will bring.
Will the Good Times Roll at North Carolina Ports in 2023?
As shippers continue to divert volume to the East Coast, the prognosis is favorable for North Carolina ports in 2023. Much of the growth is expected at the Port of Wilmington, where recent investments stand to retrofit the thriving port to handle increased volumes.
Recent investments have primarily centered on improving intermodal operations and capacity. According to WilmingtonBiz, in Aug. 2022, “...the U.S. Department of Transportation granted the Wilmington port $18 million toward a $22 million intermodal rail project through its Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program. The project will introduce four dedicated rail sidings, three dedicated reach stackers, technology enhancements, improved lighting and 10 acres of pavement for storage and transfer on either side of the new track.” With construction on this new rail infrastructure set to begin in 2023, the Port of Wilmington hopes to increase rail moves from 14,000 to 50,000 annually, according to the North Carolina Port Authority.
As Volumes Boom at North Carolina Ports, Shippers Turn to Single-Source Logistics
With volumes booming at North Carolina ports, shippers increasingly need reliable logistics services in the tar heel state.
Single-source logistics provides shippers with extensive, integrated logistics services through a single provider, eliminating the need for complex payment processes involving multiple vendors. While traditional logistics demands that shippers find different vendors for drayage, transportation, warehousing, and distribution, a single-source logistics provider offers the same breadth of services through a single partnership. By providing shippers access to three key benefits, single-source logistics offers a valuable advantage at increasingly competitive North Carolina Ports.
- Reliable Access to Drayage and Warehouse Capacity ensures that shippers won’t be left searching for capacity as competition for space increases. Shippers can access guaranteed warehouse and drayage capacity in and around crowded North Carolina ports through a single-source logistics provider.
- Streamlined Supply Chain Management helps shippers navigate increasingly complex logistics environments and fluctuating rates. With visibility resources integrated into single-source logistics platforms, shippers can ensure they have ground-level visibility over every step of their transportation and warehousing process.
- Taking on Challenges Without Taking on Increased Overhead means that shippers can adapt to a fast-changing logistics environment at North Carolina ports without increasing operational expenses and drayage fees. With single-source logistics, shippers can optimize operations while bolstering the bottom line.
As the transportation industry grows at North Carolina ports, so do the challenges shippers face. With single-source logistics, shippers can optimize their operations to meet the challenges of a fast-growing market while maintaining a competitive advantage at booming ports in North Carolina.
With Major Investment, Port City Logistics Becomes the Clear Choice for North Carolina Shippers
In August 2022, Port City Logistics partnered with North Carolina Governor to announce the opening of a $16M facility near the Port of Wilmington, creating 75 jobs in the Tar Heel state. “We are delighted to welcome Port City Logistics to New Hanover County, North Carolina,” Gov. Cooper said. “When companies are ready to connect with global markets, they are drawn to our state because of our workforce, excellent transportation network, and attractive quality of life.”
With the opening of the new facility, Port City Logistics will offer shippers access to improved warehouse and drayage capacity for the booming transportation marketplace in and around North Carolina ports.
To learn more about how Port City Logistics can help your business succeed at ports in North Carolina, contact Port City Logistics today.