USEC port expansions could be for 'naught', if higher volumes fail: economist

  Jul 4--ENORMOUS public spending on dredging projects to deepen and expand ports on the US east coast will come under close scrutiny when the anticipated increased volumes fail to materialise, Hofstra University's Jean-Paul Rodrigue warned delegates attending TOC Europe's Container Supply Chain conference.

  "Ports on the US east coast are now dredging and expanding ports to get ship calls from larger ships," Professor Rodrigue, a leading economist, was quoted as saying in a report by Port Strategy. "But what you have got to realise is that the outcome will be virtually no growth or a zero-sum gain. So, we should expect some backlash from the Federal government."

  At its most extreme, that "backlash" could manifest itself in total bans on large ships entering US east coast ports, he added. We're not there yet, but there may be a realisation that all of the dredging and expansions were for naught. Then ports could get screwed for all this wasted public spend."

  Professor Rodrigue added that the industry is reaching a phase of maturity for containerisation. However, the gap is growing between the reference and the reality. "As this grows wider and wider this leads to problems; there is no longer a relationship between growth of GDP and growth of TEU; indeed, it was zero in 2016. Peak containerisation is a new term we have to adapt to."


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