***This article was written by Martyn Wingrove for TankerShipping.com on Dec 6, 2017. To see the original, please click HERE.
With the increase in America’s production and export of natural gas, some industry experts warn of bigger traffic jams among tankers at the busiest ports in the Gulf. The congestion is not exactly on par with an LA freeway at rush hour, but sizable enough to cause costly delays.
A few years ago, with grain volumes on the rise, adding more barges to the fleet seemed a good idea to many U.S. shippers. More barges. Bigger loads. Larger profits. But things haven’t worked out as planned, even with the recent record-breaking harvests of corn and soybeans.
According to the US Federal Maritime Commission, port congestion is global and reaching critical proportions. Larger ships, stronger economies, weather-related problems, labor uncertainty and overdue upgrades/expansions to port infrastructure have all combined to generate more port congestion than ever before. At many ports, congestion has become a persistent problem, with vessels frequently forced to wait at anchor for a berth. Meanwhile, ships maneuvering around anchored vessels increase the danger of collisions, and tidal currents and wave action make tightly packed ships in harbor areas vulnerable.
***This article originally appeared in the Sep/Oct 2013 edition of Tank Storage Magazine
*This article first appeared in the May 2015 edition of World Port Development