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April 10, 2015

The strengthening economy, re-routed cargo from the West Coast, shifting trade routes and business trends have all contributed to a greater than 10 percent increase in overall cargo volumes in the Port of New York and New Jersey over the past two months. Our terminals have received more than a dozen “extra loaders” ocean carriers have employed to handle additional volume. While we are actively working on solutions, at this time the system is struggling to absorb such a significant surge in cargo volume and the changing logistics patterns that have resulted from the additional volume. All of these factors combined have caused sporadic delays over the past several weeks. We project it to be several more weeks before activity in the port normalizes.

The Council on Port Performance (CPP) continues to lead the effort to improve long-term performance, efficiency and reliability in the port.

Accomplishments include:

  • The first ever coordinated Winter Weather Plan was prepared and implemented and as a result this winter took less of a toll on port operations and our customers;
  • Coordination and communication have been drastically improved through greater transparency and more information sharing (CPP emails, eAlerts, updates on Twitter, Facebook a
    nd LinkedIn);
  • Publication of a consolidated list of customer service contacts and tips on how to help your own business;
  • The extension of operating hours when possible (i.e. evenings, Saturdays, ILA holidays);
  • Ninety-six percent of requested new longshoremen are currently working; and,
  • Alignment of Truck Service Center hours of operations with terminals on federal holidays.
    Improvements on the horizon are:
  • An updated traffic management plan;
  • A new Chassis Management System in which all chassis will be interoperable is expected by July 1, 2015;
  • Increased use of block stowage for certain rail cargo;
  • Implementation of a port community system known as Terminal Information Portal System (TIPS) where interested parties will be able to obtain information on terminal news (i.e.
    extended hours, row closures, etc.) container availability, booking status, empty containers, and vessel schedules at all of the terminals in a single website; and,
  • A Trucker Guidebook is currently in draft format and under review and testing with several trucking companies. The book will be released to the entire port community by July 1, 2015.

The existing challenges are a direct result of systemic changes and the dynamic nature of the shipping industry. Directing blame only prevents us from moving forward. Challenges either lead to additional problems or stimulate solutions. Cooperation through the CPP has already established the means to address previous port-wide issues. We built the foundation for problem solving with the knowledge that continuous improvements are necessary to cope with new industry challenges. These are all complex issues that take time to work through and are not as simple as just extending the hours or hiring more people. As with anything worth doing - it takes time and the coordination of many partners to get it right.

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