The modern logistics landscape is often changing and uncertain. It's important for shippers to stay on top of changes to find the best logistics opportunities and advantages. The latest shift is a volume boom at the North Carolina Port of Wilmington, with fiscal year 2022 (ending in June) having “a record high and 27% year-over-year increase,” with approximately 2.8 million tons coming through.
After this booming year in 2022, what does the new year hold for the Tar Heel State and ports in North Carolina?
2022: Wilmington’s Big Year
North Carolina and other East Coast ports saw increases in volume in 2022. A main contributor is shippers looking to reallocate volume after facing an increasingly unpredictable West Coast port landscape.
In August 2022, the east and west coasts of the U.S. saw divergent landscapes. On the West Coast, the nation’s largest port, the Port of Los Angeles, faced its most significant decreases in cargo volumes of the year, with a 15 percent drop in moving twenty-foot containers compared to the same time the previous year. On the East Coast, the Port of Savannah had its best month yet, with an increase of 18.5 percent in containers compared to the same time the previous year.
The West Coast has faced challenges like congestion and contract negotiations, while the East Coast, including spots like Port of Wilmington and Greer Inland Port, now have some logistics advantages like capacity.
2023: Another Banner Year for the Port of Wilmington?
The Port of Wilmington and the East Coast in general have a positive outlook for 2023. In a month-to-month comparison for the end of 2022, there was an increase of 2 percent of loaded imports to the Port of Virginia and 5 percent to the Port of Charleston in December compared to November. Another example was rail infrastructure expanding at the Inland Port Greer in South Carolina, along with the goal of doubling capacity.
When comparing to pre-pandemic amounts, three-year comparisons show significant increases for the East Coast, as the December 2022 import numbers compared to December 2019 showed an increase of:
- 21 percent in Virginia
- 26 percent in Savannah
- 28 percent in Charleston
On the West Coast, there were significant decreases of:
- 15 percent in Los Angeles and Long Beach
- 19 percent in Oakland
- 20 percent in Seattle/Tacoma
Intermodal Investments Embolden NC Shippers
Another factor impacting North Carolina is the opening of the Wilmington Midwest Express. This new rail line connects the Port of Wilmington with the midwestern United States. North Carolina’s governor, Roy Cooper, said this line “will improve current supply chain issues and ignite economic development.” It’s likely for this to cause the Port of Wilmington to experience greater intermodal activity in the new year. Fiscal year 2022 showed an increase of about 13 percent of rail lifts using intermodal services of both rail and the port. By late 2022, the year-to-date intermodal performance was higher than the previous year, with increases continually expected going forward.
Intermodal investments will continue, as the U.S. Department of Transportation has already granted this port $18 million toward an intermodal rail project. This project leads the North Carolina state ports authority to expect rail moves to increase to 50,000 each year from 14,000.
With Wilmington on a Winning Streak, Shippers Turn to Single-Source Logistics
As Wilmington becomes a strategic place for shippers, they can benefit from single source logistics. A single source third party logistics, also known as 3PL, company helps shippers outsource to handle logistics, supporting shipper needs and providing unique advantages at a growing port.
Port City Logistics is a leading 3PL out of Savannah that is opening a $16 million facility to serve the Port of Wilmington. It can help shippers with warehouse distribution, brokering transportation, drayage, and road trucking. Port City Logistics anticipates solving shipper problems in the area, especially by providing an exceptional drayage service through its high drayage capacity, strong port relationships, and supply chain visibility. These types of improvements in drayage result in goods moving and reaching their destination faster, and better cash flow and margins.
Single Source Logistics Advantages:
- Streamlined operations throughout a supply chain
- Reliable access to both drayage and warehouse capacity (amidst a labor shortage)
- Increased flexibility without increased overhead (amidst a dynamic volume landscape)
Consider the Port of Wilmington for Shipping Needs
The Port of Wilmington in North Carolina, as well as other East Coast ports, are thriving and growing. They are expected to continue to do so, bringing more shipping and logistics needs to this area. Single source logistics near the Port of Wilmington can help shippers make the most of using this port and gain the advantages of outsourcing.
Find your perfect logistics fit with Port City Logistics today to best move your goods from the Port of Wilmington to their destination.