Alice and I are Blessed to be raising three teenage daughters in Charleston: America’s greatest city for families! If you’ve ever had teenagers around your house, you know getting them all out the door on time to school, church or dances is always an exercise in “Managed Chaos”.
I witnessed a similar Hot Mess during my recent visit to the Ports of LA and Long Beach. Driving the Vincent Thomas Bridge, I am struck by the remarkable crowding of every nook and cranny in the harbor. There are ships in every direction, with 20 more out at sea, waiting to enter this tangled terra incognita.
News reports lay the snarl cause at the feet of recalcitrant unions, but insiders know better. The composition of the global fleet is changing fast. Larger ships are overwhelming the traditional throughput balance. The environmental left, a powerful California lobby, argues for shifting more cargo ships away from LA/LB. Shippers and retailers despise LA/LB congestion and markets always demand efficiency. The all-water routing to Charleston will minimize land transfer expenses and provide reliability by offsetting risk. Markets hate risk.
In the post-Panamax world, ships of greater economies of scale will bring Far East imports, easily pushing our TEU count past two million. That’s the “magic number”, when large warehouse and e-commerce buildings will need to be developed in greater numbers across the Charleston Industrial market.
Our entire SC Port Team is doing great work, from the C-suite to the load handlers. We should support them by building spec industrial product and adding new sites to attract more than our fair share of the “Great Eastern Migration”.
Next month: ” We Build Jets! ”