Empty container city

November 5, 2010, 11:00 AM UTC

By Beth Kowitt, writer-reporter

Importing more than you export means lots of empty containers. That visual manifestation of our trade deficit is what drivers see as they pass the Port of New York and New Jersey on the New Jersey Turnpike. In the first eight months of 2010, the port saw the equivalent of 700,000 more full 20-foot containers enter than leave.

  • 45% of containers exported from port operator APM Terminals’ Port Elizabeth facility (part of the Port of New York and New Jersey) are empty, a reflection of the trade imbalance.
  • 1.80:1 is the ratio of imports to exports in the Port of New York and New Jersey, through June, up from 1.75:1 in the same period last year. Total containerized volume at the port is up 14% over the first half of 2009.
  • 6 of the world’s 10 largest ports are now in China, up from two in 1999. The Port of Los Angeles, America’s biggest, is 16th, down from eighth in 1999. The Port of New York and New Jersey is 21st.

Sources: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Piers; The Journal of Commerce; Drewry; APM Terminals; Containerisation International; L.H. Boyd & Co.