William Coffey, interim director of the Maritime Affairs Institute at Roger Williams University School of Law, has an excellent op-ed in today’s Providence Journal about the incredible economic opportunities for U.S. ports being created by increased international sea trade. Ports across the country are taking advantage of these opportunities. With the proper protections and economic development policies, the Port of Providence and Quonset could benefit as well:

For well over a decade, America’s international sea trade has been growing at unprecedented levels. Today, both cargo export and import volumes, whether in containers or via other means, are burgeoning, and all indications point to this trend continuing for the foreseeable future. This has been a particularly welcome development for U.S. Atlantic Coast ports. Much of the increase is coming from China, with “all-water-services” via the Panama and Suez canals increasingly used by ocean carriers and their customers to avoid delay and additional expenses associated with Pacific Coast gateways.

From the ports of Houston and Miami in the south to New York and Halifax in the north, terminal operators and port authorities are working diligently in tandem with their ocean carrier customers to meet these new demands.

The Port of New York and New Jersey and the Port of Savannah, for example, are focused on the container megaport/large-distribution-center model. Baltimore is building its automobile and roll on/roll off lines. Philadelphia and Wilmington lead in handling refrigerated commodities.

Boston and Halifax have been developing strong regional operations based on their compact container facilities. There are large private investments being made in these and other locations, and public/private partnerships are also being used to keep pace with trade.

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