Smaller US ports offer potential solution for supply chain delays

Shipping companies use small ports to avoid backlogs

Nationwide, smaller ports have increasingly become viable alternatives to congested coastal docks.

CLEVELAND – The supply chain gridlock at major U.S. ports has small shipping hubs working at record pace to ease the crisis.

Nationwide, smaller ports have increasingly become viable alternatives to congested coastal docks.

The Port of Cleveland, which ranked 49 out of 50 on the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ 2020 list of top U.S ports, reported a 69% increase in "tonnage" in 2021. Officials at the Port of Cleveland told FOX Business a significant increase in goods both in and out of containers, as well as iron ore shipments, drove the increase.

Smaller U.S. ports offer potential solution for supply chain delays. (Stephen Goin / Fox News)

Jade Davis, the executive vice president of external affairs at the Port of Cleveland, said more shipping companies used the inland port last year to avoid crowded east and west coast hubs.

COST OF SHIPPING CONTAINER FROM CHINA TO U.S. HITS RECORD HIGH IN SEPTEMBER

"We end up seeing some ships that diverted from the coasts and couple ships came all they around the Panama Canal," Davis said. "What you don’t see [here] is a bunch of ships sitting out in the harbor, because of that we offer companies the opportunity to procure goods quicker and get them on and off ships quicker."

Davis explained some companies that used the port had even chartered their own small ships to dictate where their goods would enter the country. 

The Port of Cleveland reported a 69% increase in “tonnage” in 2021.  (Stephen Goin)

"They’re just calling our port operators and saying, ‘Do you have room and when because we’re worried about various backups?’" Davis added. 

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Across the country, other small ports are angling for some of the additional business overflowing from major U.S. ports. 

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis has pitched the state’s 15 seaports as the relief the U.S. needs, saying local harbors "are used to operating around the clock." And in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott launched an "Escape California" campaign aimed at attracting carriers to the Gulf Coast.

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