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UP: West Coast woes, Panama Canal expansion won’t spur major cargo shift

Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach

The JOC reports that, ”Fritz’s comments poured cold water on industry-wide speculation that shipper frustration with months of West Coast delays could trigger a cargo shift like one following the 10-day lockout of longshore workers on that coast in 2002.” Photo shows Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Union Pacific Railroad on Thursday appeared to downplay the idea that U.S. West Coast port congestion has changed its expectations that a low- single-digit share of cargo might shift to East Coast when the Panama Canal opens next year.

Asked by an investment analyst whether diversions from the West Coast to East Coast were “more permanent in nature,” UP CEO and President Lance Fritz reiterated the railroad’s belief that the opening of the expanded waterway might spur a “a low single-digit transfer.” The most efficient container vessels that will serve North America — those capable of handling as much as 15,000 20-foot-equivalent units — will call the West Coast and won’t go through the canal to East Coast ports, he added.

More at the Journal of Commerce


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