What East Coast Ports (and 3PLs) Make Sense for your Imports?

Labor strife at West Coast docks and the expansion of the Panama Canal to handle large, post-Panamax vessels have led importers to look at shifting more import shipments to East Coast ports. But which port?

The Port of Virginia has the deepest water among east coast portsThe Port of Virginia, consisting of four marine terminals on the harbor of Hampton Roads, is a compelling choice for several reasons:

  • The Port has the deepest water on the East Coast – a huge advantage as the size and depth requirements of vessels continues to increase
  • Direct rail access (CSX, Norfolk Southern) for fast, cost-effective inland distribution
  • Central location for fast distribution to Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast markets
  • Port-wide chassis pool to unify all chassis – this eliminates the need for switching, improves maintenance and helps customers and steamship lines control their assets

Your goods are in the U.S. Now what?

Goods imported through East Coast ports typically end up in a distribution warehouse. At the Port of Virginia in Norfolk, warehousing and distribution space is hard to find, and tends to be more expensive. For these reasons, Eastern North Carolina has become a popular distribution point for East Coast imports.

Kanban Logistics, for instance, has several customers who bring goods through Norfolk and ship it two hours inland to a Kanban warehouse. The added drayage costs are returned quickly through the savings generated from lower operating costs in Eastern NC.

Here are some of the advantages of distributing from Eastern NC with Kanban:

  • Lower labor costs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Rocky Mount, NC region has one of the lowest wage rates in in the Mid-Atlantic region for warehouse workers, compared to markets like Hampton Roads, Raleigh-Durham, Atlanta, Charlotte and Greenville, SC.
  • Lower space costs. Average net rental rates in the Rocky Mount/Tarboro NC area are less than those reported, by Cushman & Wakefield in 2015 , for the same markets noted above.
  • Access value-added services. Kanban’s modern warehouses are temperature-controlled, rail-sided and include North Carolina FTZ capabilities.
  • Reach every major East Coast market via ground in one day. Kanban’s five-DC campus is located minutes from interstate 95.

Choosing East Coast Ports

All East Coast ports, from New York to Miami, is scrambling to ready their harbors and infrastructure for more and larger container vessels. The Port of Virgina at Hampton Roads has the deep water and transportation infrastructure in place. Don’t risk your supply chain based on a blueprint of what will be at certain East Coast Ports. Choose a port that can handle your goods today, and choose a 3PL, like Kanban, with a proven solution for distribution of East Coast imports.

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