The professional services and investment management firm Jones Lang LaSalle has named the Port of New York and New Jersey as the top U.S. seaport according three factors: availability of industrial real estate surrounding the ports, proximity to population density, and improved infrastructure.
Amid flat cargo volume growth, JLL points out in its fifth annual Seaport Outlook
that U.S. seaports face competition for post-Panama Canal expansion market share.
“Competition is rising even while trade growth is stagnant,” said Rich Thompson, managing director of JLL’s Ports Airports and Global Infrastructure (PAGI) group. “The emergence of marketplace shifts related to multi-channel retail strategies, as well as the soon-to-be completed Panama Canal expansion, are changing the positioning for many U.S. ports. To gain market share, ports must both improve infrastructure, connectivity and possess required, Class A distribution center space to support the increasing demands of corporate supply chain strategies.”
JLL noted as the top ports begin serving larger post-Panamax ships, real estate near to ports is in great demand, with port-driven markets outperforming other top industrial real estate markets nationwide. According to the report, there are only 11 available distribution center spaces larger than 500,000 square feet within 15 miles of any major U.S. seaport. Meanwhile, only 23 blocks are available for warehouse space users in need of at least 250,000 square feet within five miles of a major port.
The Port of New York and New Jersey ranked first according to JLL’s metrics in 2012 and this year, with the margin widening over the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
“The ports that succeed in our index are the shipping destinations best able to adapt to challenges of serving larger ships, expanding efficiencies and capacity while managing the ups and downs of a volatile global marketplace,” Thompson said. “The industrial real estate market in New Jersey offers more options for retailers that need to both store and distribute inventory immediately after it comes off the ships.”
Los Angeles did rank the highest in the improved infrastructure category, due to its “large and fast-growing container volume, rail connectivity and post-Panama expansion preparation,” followed by New York/New Jersey, Long Beach, Savannah, and Baltimore.
In terms of second tier ports, JLL ranked Savannah at the top, followed by Baltimore and Jacksonville.
“As larger ships with double the capacity make calls on our U.S. ports, one of the real differentiators will be the ports ability to improve their throughput and to move those containers more efficiently and effectively from the ships to the major distribution centers and population hubs,” Thompson said. - Eric Johnson