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PANYNJ Port Industry Day

Sep 29, 2016

The New York – New Jersey Port Promotion Association hosted their 16th annual event Monday at Liberty House in Jersey City, N.J. Turnout was strong and networking was brisk on issues from the Hanjin backlash to port productivity.

The morning panel traced the development of SeaLand Services, the first ocean carrier to move general cargo in containers rather than as loose freight in the ship’s hold.

The afternoon panel discussed the impact of modern container vessels on the PANYNJ and how it will prepare for the onslaught of Mega Ships.

Evolution of an Industry – Malcom McLean changes ocean cargo movement forever:

Moderator: Jim Devine (ret.), Global Container Terminal

Panelists: R. Kenneth Johns, CEO, R.K. Johns Associates; Charles R. Cushing, Owner, C.R. Cushing & Co.; M. Brian Maher, (ret.) Chairman, Maher Terminals; Carmine Ragucci, Commissioner, Board of Pilots of the State of New York.; Hugh H. Welsh, Deputy General Counsel (ret.), the Port of New York and New Jersey

In the 1950’s there were no interstate highways and most roads in the South Atlantic were little more than paved cow paths. Malcom Mclean, a successful trucker, had a vision. He believed there were cheaper and faster ways to move cargo up and down the coast and across the country. During the early years after WW II, McLean Trucking was one of the first companies to load liquid bulk containers on railcars and move them to a point where one of his waiting trucks would deliver the cargo to its final destination. In 1956 McLean lifted the first cargo van off its wheels and placed it on the deck of a ship. The date was April 26th . The ship was a converted tanker renamed the Ideal X. Loaded in Newark N.J., fifty-eight 35’ “trailer vans” of Ballantine Ale were bound for Houston. The age of containerization was born.

In 1957 Pan Atlantic Steamship Corp. as it was called, expanded its operation buying six C-2 class liberty ships built by Gulf Shipbuilding of Chickasaw, Al and converted them to container vessels. At the same time Pan Atlantic ordered four thousand 35-foot containers from Fruehauf Trailer Corp. in Detroit. The 35’er became the standard industry size because at the time it was the largest box allowed on Pennsylvania highways.

Other ocean carriers soon entered the container market: Lykes Lines established in 1900 bought into the idea of carrying containerized cargo to North Europe. Lykes perfected the concept of integrating container barges with a mother ship, which could complete an ocean voyage then discharge motorized barges to deliver containers to shallow draft ports in Asia and the South Pacific. The integration of containerized cargo handling with terminal operations was not an easy task. Shipboard cranes performed the loading and unloading of the first container ships, and it wasn’t until 1959 that shore side units were introduced. Handling of the new cargo containers also became an issue with labor. Fearing a loss of jobs the unions fought for work rules, which would protect their members. Cargo handling now required specialized labor relying less on the casual worker. It also meant that cargo could be removed from the pier and the freight stripped at off dock facilities. Several strikes during the 1960’s helped solidify work rules, which included guaranteed hours of service, maintenance and retraining of the existing labor pool and job security. During the intervening decades, SeaLand was owned by several conglomerates including R.J. Reynolds and CSX Corporation. In December of 1999 the A.P. Moller – Maersk Group acquired SeaLand and has since integrated its service into their many trade lanes.

From a man of vision to today’s mega container vessels Malcom McLean truly was the man whose box changed the world.

Preparing to meet the challenge

Moderator: Dean Tracy, Managing Director Global Integrated Systems

Panelists: William “Bill” Rooney, VP Trade Management, North American Kuehne & Nagel; Capt. Richard Schoenlank, President, United N.J. Sandy Hook Pilots; Peter Palmer, Chairman, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority; Molly Campbell, Director of Port Commerce, The Port Authority of NY & NJ

Captain Schoenlank noted larger container ships need to be handled differently. Their sheer size and draft have to be considered when planning a port call inside the Bayonne Bridge. Maneuverability becomes an issue as vessels navigate access channels.

On time performance was an issue raised by Bill Rooney. Today Kuehne & Nagel is experiencing a 70% to 80% on time rate from their carriers. Delays become compounded with larger vessels as more containers are discharged. As more cargo comes off the ship, it will require terminals to be more efficient in releasing boxes to the truckers. Container release compounded by an increasing driver shortage will continue to plague cargo delivery. Regional warehouses will need to match terminal hours so that containers can be delivered and not held.

The Council on Port Performance continues to reach out to the regional community and has been successful in promoting a dialogue between the port and local stakeholders. The Port will continue to gather information from its carrier clients, terminal operators and end users in order to better understand the issues it will face as cargo volumes increase. A new Master Plan is being developed to address these issues going forward. The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council is also developing Plan 2045 to look at regional infrastructure issues beyond the port.

Will our port be ready for the Mega-Ships to come?

This July Global Container Terminals successfully handled the 10,100 TEU MOL Benefactor the largest vessel to call our port to date. It was one ship handled on a single call.

Can the port accurately predict what effect multiple ship calls will have on our terminals?

Are our facilities equipped to handle the influx of ULCCs (Ultra Large Container Carriers) that the port might expect in the future?

Author Photo
Matt Guasco
INF Marketing and Logistics, Inc.
President

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