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High volumes of imports from Asia and higher levels of overall global trade will keep capacity fairly tight on the high seas in 2006. Shipping lines are building bigger and bigger ships to carry more cargo, but demand is rising, too. That will put more pressure on ports and intermodal facilities in the coming year and on shippers managing the complex international supply chains that feed the U.S. economy.
Expect more focus on all-water services from Asia as retailers and their suppliers build distribution centers on the East and Gulf Coasts to avoid West Coast bottlenecks. Shippers can expect some capacity increases on all-water routes from Asia in 2006, although not as much as on West Coast services, shipping officials say.
Peter Zantal, general manager of strategic analysis and industry relations for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, expects one or two new all-water services next year, beginning in the second half.
Only two new all-water services debuted this year--one launched by the CKYH alliance, the other by China Shipping Container Line.
Carriers offering all-water services were in a very strong bargaining position this year. That was because of relatively limited growth in capacity, coupled with heavy demand, particularly from shippers who were looking to diversify their sourcing patterns after getting burned by the congestion in …