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Ruda named permanent New York/New Jersey director

Bethann Rooney is promoted to deputy director and Andy Saporito is named senior adviser for special projects.

   The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced Monday that Sam Ruda, the Port Department’s interim director for the past five months, has been named its new director.  
   Ruda (pictured above), who came to the Port Authority in 2015 after a 29-year career in transportation that included 12 years as part of the senior management team at the Port of Portland, will oversee the pending implementation of a 30-year strategic plan to deal with the port’s growth and record cargo volumes.
   “Sam is a consummate professional who brings to the table more than 30 years of transportation experience in shipping, marketing and supply chain logistics,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “His broad background will be a major asset to this agency as we embark on the upcoming transformation of the port facilities to accommodate the continuous record cargo growth they now handle.”
   In addition to the appointment of a new director, the Port Authority also announced Monday that Bethann Rooney, a 28-year veteran of the maritime industry, has been named the Port Department’s deputy director. 
   Rooney most recently served as assistant director, responsible for overseeing all policy, planning, legislative and regulatory affairs, environmental sustainability, performance and efficiency matters. She has been the architect and coordinator of the Port’s Council on Port Performance, the first forum of its kind in the nation established as a framework for port constituents to identify challenges to port efficiency and service reliability and develop recommended solutions. 
   Ruda and Rooney take on their new roles in the Port Department during a period when cargo volumes are at an all-time high. Their charge is to continue the strong growth into the future with the Port Authority and its private sector terminal operators joining together to expand the port’s cargo-handling capabilities to meet the growing demand.   
    In 2018, the Port of New York and New Jersey handled more than 7 million TEUs for the first time in its history, which dates back to the 1950s. During the first two months of 2019, that record growth is continuing, with new all-time monthly records set in January and February, the port authority said.
   To deal with that growth, Ruda and Rooney will oversee the implementation of the port master plan, which explores the port’s existing 3,000 acres of cargo facilities to improve operations and enhance revenue and job creation opportunities. They also will oversee construction of the final phase of the buildout of the ExpressRail Port Jersey facility, which will complete the port’s rail network and advance the port’s five-year strategic goal to handle more than 900,000 rail lifts a year, the equivalent of 1.5 million fewer truck trips on local highways.  
   In addition, they will oversee the ongoing work to complete the Greenville Yard project, which includes a significant upgrade to the N.Y.-N.J. Rail operation, which is owned by the port authority and operates the growing cross-harbor car float system across the Hudson River. Under the system, freight is loaded on railcars and moved by marine rail barge from Greenville to rail yards at 65th Street in Brooklyn.
   In addition to his time at the Port of Portland, Ruda had a 25-year career in the container shipping industry. He also managed the global supply chain for a Fortune 500 company with extensive Asia-based manufacturing operations.
   Rooney began her career as a port captain and vessel agent for General Steamship Corp. Since joining the port authority in 1993, she has held a series of progressively responsible management positions including port operations, property management, intermodal and technology planning. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, she was named manager of port security a position she held for 14 years.
   The port authority also announced Monday that Andy Saporito will assume the role of senior adviser for special projects.
   Saporito will provide guidance and strategic direction on a number of key port initiatives, including development opportunities on the MOTBY peninsula, container terminal development and the completion of the Greenville Yard intermodal rail project.

Kim Link Wills

Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills has written about everything from agriculture as a reporter for Illinois Agri-News to zoology as editor of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Her work has garnered awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. Prior to serving as managing editor of American Shipper, Kim spent more than four years with XPO Logistics.