An evaluation of the factors determining container port competitiveness of the North American West Coast  through the port’s market shares can be challenging. Lack of reliable data on the volumes and routing of import cargo to inland destination are examples of the challenges. It is also due to the difficulty in establishing shipper costs when rates for ocean shipping, port charges, and inland transportation are determined primarily by confidential contracts. However, there are other ways to assess West Coast container port competitiveness. Mr. Davies presented this research paper at the METRANS National Urban Freight Conference Long Beach, California in October 12, 2011.

West Coast Container Port Competitiveness Research

Phil Davies for this on West Coast container port competitiveness is simplified the analysis due to the traditional dominance of Canadian imports and exports in Lower Mainland shipments. Inland routing of cargo can be deduced from Customs data, and financial data on intermodal revenue per carload for the Canadian and U.S. Class 1 railways serving the West Coast ports provide a representative indication of cost differentials for inland transportation. Due to data limitations, this analysis assumes that relative port and ocean shipping costs were unchanged over this period; however evidence is presented to suggest that Lower Mainland port costs may have increased relative to U.S. costs.  In a separate study, Mr. Phil Davies evaluated other factors determining West Coast container port competitiveness.