October 7, 2020
U.S. West Coast Ports Could Lose Up to 45% of Intermodal Imports to Rival B.C. Ports
A study commissioned by the Pacific Maritime Association warns that high terminal charges, U.S. rail costs and other competitive factors could cause U.S. West Coast ports to lose up to 45% of intermodal import business to rival ports in B.C. by 2030.
The two B.C. container ports, especially Prince Rupert, have cost advantages of several hundred dollars per import FEU-load over both the San Pedro Bay gateway and the Puget Sound gateway for intact intermodal imports from Asia to the mainland metro markets that the Canadian National Railway and/or Canadian Pacific Railway serve.
The U.S. markets most vulnerable to Canadian competition are Chicago, Memphis, Minneapolis, and Detroit, which collectively account for nearly 45% of all intact intermodal volume moving through U.S. West Coast ports.
For intact intermodal cargo, the report found that the two B.C. ports have significant route cost advantages as high as $600 per container over U.S. West Coast ports.
With projects currently under at both B.C. ports that will add significant additional capacity at both terminals, U.S. West Coast ports will face further challenges with respect to volume and share loss.