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What an Eastern-Shifting Supply Chain Means for North American Seaports and Industrial Real Estate

Hear more at I.CON: Impact Project, March 8-9

March 01, 2017

KC Conway

K.C. Conway, senior vice president for credit risk management and market intelligence, SunTrust Banks

Former key ports of entry along the West Coast of North America have begun to compete with increasingly modern and more efficient East Coast ports. Rising dependence on intermodal services has made railway connections between ports a necessity, while e-commerce has spurred industrial real estate development, leading to increased competition and location flexibility for warehouses.

Bisnow interviewed I.CON: Impact Projects keynote K.C. Conway, senior vice president for credit risk management and market intelligence for SunTrust Banks, on his take of this shift, including:

  • For the $5M Panama Canal expansion, completed in June 2016, the efficiency of the expansion has yet to be proven. “One of the misnomers is that much more traffic will flow through, but they forget that the canal [is] for two-way traffic,” Conway said.
  • Hesitation over the effectiveness of the Panama expansion has eastern ports adapting to handle a larger flow of cargo. “Not only did they look at dredging but also all kinds of modern efficiencies like robotic cranes and better on-dock rail services to the ports that the West Coast ports do not necessarily have — especially in Southern California,” Conway said.
  • Population density also plays a factor, as services like e-commerce require faster last-mile logistics near consumers. “Most of this shift has almost nothing to do with the Panama Canal.
  • Eastern seaports have begun to leverage connections to intermodal hubs and shipping services. This has threatened trucking companies that depend on an overcrowded interstate system to move goods.

Read the full article for the details, take-aways and insights by a leading industrial expert.

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