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U.S. importers will have a choice of a half-dozen new services from Asia this year, provided they ship their cargo through the Pacific Northwest.
Burned by last year's five-month logjam at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, carriers have no immediate plans to add new strings of vessels to the Southern California gateway, which handles more than 40 percent of U.S. containerized imports. Many marine terminals there are close to capacity under current operating procedures.
Carriers are eager to add all-water services to East Coast ports, but it appears they'll be unable to secure enough vessels by the summer-fall peak season to form the eight- or nine-ship strings required for services through the Panama Canal. However, new services through the Panama and Suez canals could begin to materialize by the end of the year.
The new trans-Pacific services that are being added are to U.S. ports with marine terminal and intermodal infrastructure capacity available now. The Pacific Northwest ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Portland, Ore., are in that position.
Tacoma's opening of a new terminal for Evergreen Marine Corp. in January had a domino effect, permitting …