This article brought to you courtesy of NEXT Trucking
For the first time this year, the Port of New York and New Jersey has became the second largest container gateway to the U.S. And the port is making investments to ensure it will retain a top spot in maritime freight in the years to come.
Through August, NY-NJ has handled 4.995 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), compared with 4.971 million at Long Beach. Los Angeles remains the No. 1 gateway with 6.31 million TEUs handled over the same time.
Other measures also show NY-NJ’s increasing importance in maritime logistics. It had higher year-to-date imports and exports than Long Beach in seven of the eight months through August 2019.
The U.S.-China trade war is one reason for NY-NJ’s rise this year, as beneficial cargo owners switch sourcing to countries not hit by tariffs.
China is still NY-NJ’s largest trading partner, accounting for $22.3 billion in imports through August 2019. But that’s down 8% from the year-earlier period. Over the same time, the dollar value of goods coming from Vietnam through NY-NJ rose 19%, while imports from Thailand and Malaysia saw 16% and 20% increases, respectively.
Rado Saragih, an executive with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said the trade issue “is a contributing factor why we are gaining business from Long Beach.”
“The Suez Canal connects us to Southeast Asia quite quickly,” Saragih said at a presentation about the port. “A lot of shippers have already migrated production into Southeast Asia countries” due to the tariffs.
But tariffs alone are not driving the volumes into the region. NY-NJ’s market reach makes it an attractive gateway for containerized goods. Some 45 million consumers are within a four-hour drive of the port.
After investing $4 billion in major projects such as raising the Bayonne Bridge and dredging the NY-NJ harbor to 50-foot depth — both efforts aimed at allowing larger ships to call — the Port Authority is planning for the next 30 years of growth.
It expects local demand for containerized goods to bring volumes up to 12 million TEUs by 2050, with upwards of 5 million more TEUs coming from freight destined for other inland markets.
Once off the ship, containers move primarily by trucks, which handle up to 85% of the volume coming from NY-NJ ports. Of that amount, three-quarters goes to distribution centers and warehouses in four New Jersey counties surrounding the port.
To keep those volumes moving, the Port Authority Is looking at additional investments in the roadways surrounding the main marine terminals as part of its pathway to 2050. Those investments include widening the streets outside of the Port Newark and Elizabeth marine terminals and easing access to the main interstates that connect the port, I-95 and I-78.
The Port Authority is also looking at ways to expand the road network south of the GCT Bayonne marine terminal in Port Jersey as new logistics sites are developed in the area.
Along with the common infrastructure, one of NY-NJ’s biggest tenants is also upgrading its terminals to ease truck flow.
APM Terminals is nearing completion of a $200 million upgrade to its Elizabeth marine terminal. The upgrade includes four new container cranes for larger ships, a reinforced berth and an expanded truck gate.
The new truck gates are fitted with optical character recognition for containers, weigh-in-motion scales, radio frequency identification and closed circuit television. The technology is expected to shave just under a minute from the roughly 5,000 daily truck transactions at APM Elizabeth.