Last year set records at the Port of New York and New Jersey and the records continue into 2016. The port handled a record 3.6 million containers, a figure which was up 9.6 percent over 2014. Loaded import containers increased a remarkable 8.2 percent.
Every month of 2015 set a record, reported the Council on Port Performance, a public-private body convened to address challenges faced by the port community. The port’s U.S. East Coast market share last year hit 15.9 percent, also a record. January 2016 was the best January ever for both containers and rail.
And containers were not the only business to thrive at the Port of New York and New Jersey in 2015. “Our automobile business was up 21.5 percent last year,” said Andrew Saporito, deputy director of port commerce at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “We have been successful in growing that business which had been down for a while by introducing an incentive program.”
Perhaps the biggest challenge faced by the Port of New York and New Jersey is how to cope with its own success. The port has seen total cargo container growth of over 20 percent in the last decade. Dealing with those increases, and anticipating future growth, especially with coming arrival of megapships, means that the port must grow its physical footprint and find new ways to operate infrastructure more efficiently.
Among capital infrastructure projects at the port, a project to deepen the harbor and its channels to 50 feet is ongoing. The port’s on-dock ExpressRail is being expanded. The Bayonne Bridge roadway is being raised to accommodate the new breed of megaships. That project’s timetable was revised a few months ago. (See sidebar on this page)
The significant increases in container volume in the Port of New York and New Jersey last year derived from a number of sources, including organic growth and added vessel services. But cargo diverted from the West Coast in the wake of the labor slowdown there also played a role.
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