The Port Authority's efforts to phase out Class 8 vehicles with engines Model Year 1993 or older have proved very successful. To date, over 7,400 trucks have enrolled in the Port Truck Pass (PTP) in connection with the Truck Phase Out Plan, a program that creates a cleaner environment at the Port of New York and New Jersey and its surrounding regions by restricting older vehicles from entering the port. Truckers who have not yet done so are encouraged to register in the PTP right away. Full enforcement of the program began on January 1, 2011 while actual penalties were not assessed until March 1, 2011. If you have any questions regarding compliance, or would like to register for the PTP, click here.
The PANYNJ's Truck Replacement Program (TRP) presents another inspiring story. Under the TRP, the Port Authority leveraged an EPA grant to provide a financial incentive to truckers who wish to purchase newer vehicles. The EPA grant covers 25 percent of costs for the replacement vehicles on a first come, first serve basis. The Port Authority offers low-cost financing for the remaining 75 percent of the replacement truck's cost. One year into the program, the TRP received applications to replace over 200 vehicles model year1993 and older.
“We're very happy to offer the trucking community this opportunity,” says Atef Ahmed, Port Commerce Manager of Environmental Programs. “We'll continue to seek opportunities to secure additional grant funding. We want to make this assistance available to truckers with the goal of ensuring 100 percent compliance with the second phase out which denies port access for all trucks not equipped with 2007 emission compliant engines by the January 1, 2017 cutoff date.”
The Port Authority recently applied for and received an additional grant from EPA totaling $1.57 million, which allows the agency to continue the program. With the remaining funds in the TRP and the additional EPA grant funding, Class 8 vehicles with engines Model Year 1994 – 2003 are now eligible to apply.
“The TRP works on a first come, first serve basis,” says Ahmed. “It's important to stress this because approximately 3000 vehicles with engine Model Years '94 – '03 call on the port frequently. At the moment, we don't have enough funds to finance them all, so you must act quickly in order to take advantage of this opportunity.”
For more information, contact the Truck Replacement Center (TRC) at 877-309-1680.
Earlier this year, the Port Authority released its 2011 budget. The $7.2 billion budget calls for zero growth in operating expenses for the third straight year, reduces headcount to the lowest levels in 40 years, and prioritizes $3.9 billion in capital spending to ensure that the programs essential to keeping the region's infrastructure modern and in a state of good repair move forward.
Richard M. Larrabee, Director of Port Commerce, notes that, given these tough economic times, The Port Authority must remain diligent in how it spends the public's money. Larrabee says that this is one of the reasons why the agency has developed a zero growth operating budget and taken great care to identify capital projects in the region's best interests.
The Port of New York and New Jersey will specifically benefit from $46 million in development funds, at Port Jersey and the recently-acquired Global Terminal. $70 million has been pledged to continue funding the harbor deepening program that will prepare the port for super post-Panamax cargo vessels Intermodal rail will receive $24 million for projects ranging from Corbin Street rail year and support tracks, as well as track work and ongoing planning at Greenville Yards; $26 million for major roadway projects, including the Port Street and Brewster Road Connector, as well as the McLester Street widening and curve realignment.
Officials at the Port of New York and New Jersey have voiced cautious optimism that a rebound off the economic lows posted in 2009 has begun to take hold. New statistics cite that overall cargo container traffic rose 16 percent in 2010 over 2009, with imports showing 14.9 percent increase, while exports increased by 9 percent.
In a recent New York Times article, Richard M. Larrabee offered perspective on the cargo volume increase. Larrabee serves as director of the Port Commerce department at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
“…It means the individual that drives the truck now has more business; the companies that handle imported products are seeing more business; [and] it does create a much higher level of activity.”
The port statistics coincide with figures presented by Jim Devine, president of New York Container Terminal, who said that his business grew 17 percent last year.
Joseph C. Curto, president of the New York Shipping Association, mentioned how a pickup in the housing market has more than likely contributed to the increase in related imports, such as housing supplies, appliances, and furnishings, while increased activity in agricultural products, such as grain, contributed to the export gains.
As vehicle sales dropped in 2009, it became normal to see thousands of imported cars parked in lots near the Port of New York and New Jersey. However, cars saw a 10.3 percent increase in imports and a 16.3 percent increase in exports for a total increase of 12.2 percent in 2010.
The top five containerized import commodities by volume were furniture, women's and infantwear, miscellaneous apparel, beer and ale, and menswear. The top five containerized exports were paper, automobiles, scap metal, household goods, and auto parts.
China remains the Port's number one trading partner in terms of both cargo value and volume. India, Italy, Germany and Brazil follow. Numbers like the ones listed above have inspired expressions of hope that such economic doldrums have finally passed.
Little known fact: the US Coast Guard plays a pivotal role in heating our homes each winter.
When the cold months descend, tugboats keep pulling commercial barges filled with about 7 million barrels of heating oil and diesel fuel up the Hudson river. Most of these shipments terminate in Albany, from where the fuel is distributed throughout the region.
But the Hudson freezes almost every year.
“Not completely, of course,” says Charles Rowe, Public Affairs officer for the USCG. “But this year, the ice got between 4 and 12 inches thick. You can imagine how that impedes the progress of ships. Often, they can't make the journey upriver without proper assistance.”
That's where the Coast Guard comes in.
Ice season typically runs from mid-December to mid-March. During that time, the Coast Guard puts as many as three ice-breaking vessels to work on the Hudson 24/7. The vessels are typically 140 feet long and weigh 660 tons. Designed to leverage high power at low speeds, they can cut through ice up to 27 inches thick on inland waterways. The Coast Guard employs the same types of crafts to de-ice the Great Lakes each year.
Each vessel works from sunrise to sunset, and breaks ice in three ways. Specially-hardened hulls shear the floes by rising up over them and smashing down. This breaks the ice into chunks, which then float back to the vessel's aft, where specially-designed propellers crush the chunks into smaller bits. In addition, each vessel is fitted with special air tubes below the water line. A 10-ton on-board generator loaded aboard pumps air through the tubes and out the vessel's sides. This creates a bubble of air between the ship and the ice, buoying the craft and increasing her speed, as well as the force she can generate to collide with the ice floes and crush them.
Once the sun sets, the icebreaking vessels either tie up at an appropriate facility or hove to and wait for sunrise.
The icebreakers cannot open the entire river to traffic. Instead, they concentrate on cutting tracks wide enough for commercial vessels to sail. The process leaves debris floating in the water, but nothing so dangerous as a skin or crust that could halt the passage of ships. How fast the icebreakers work depends on many factors, including the thickness and hardness of the ice that's accumulated.
“The harder ice gets, the tougher it is to break,” says Mr. Rowe. “So believe it or not, twelve inches of soft ice is easier to break than four inches of hard ice. And ice that is fast to the shoreline is easier to break than ice that is loose and floating around. Once in a while, we get calls to assist ships that are trapped. More often we focus on keeping those waterways open.”
De-icing the Hudson falls under the Coast Guard's mandate to maintain the safety of America's navigable waterways for commerce and personal recreation. Lots of goods get shipped up the Hudson throughout the year. Heating oil is one such staple. Without this fuel, people's homes would go cold. Without other products of similar import, businesses would close their doors. The tenor of society would change.
“Not many people know we're out there doing this,” says Mr. Rowe. “But we are, and we take the job seriously.”
At a ceremony held on February 24, 2011, representatives from the Port Authority's Port Commerce Department presented the following ceremonial check to Charles Priscu of New York Container Terminal, Inc. (NYCT) of Howland Hook, Staten Island.
By accepting these funds, NYCT became the first participant in the Port Authority's Cargo-Handling Equipment Fleet Modernization Incentive Program, one of a comprehensive set of environmental initiatives. The fleet modernization effort is specifically geared at helping marine terminal operators and other port tenants replace old cargo-handling equipment with newer units that produce lower-level emissions of criteria air pollutants and greenhouse gasses. NYCT received the funds to purchase 11 new pieces of new equipment -- two wheel loaders, one empty handler, four yard hostlers, two top loaders, one fork lift and one reachstacker. Total purchase cost: $2,972,962.
From left to right: William Nurthen (PA), Charles Priscu (NYCT), Annette Barry-Smith (PA), and Atef Ahmed (PA)
The Port Authority has pledged $2.24 million over a four-year period to reimburse terminal operators and other tenants for 20 percent of costs, minus sale and/or salvage value, to use cleaner operating equipment. All Port Authority marine terminal tenants may participate, as long as they remove from operation old heavy-emissions equipment and replace it with newer equipment that meets federal on-road and/or off-road air emissions standards. Participants must provide proof that the old equipment was removed from the Port area or scrapped altogether.
In addition to the Fleet Modernization Progam, New York Container Terminal and APM Terminal-Elizabeth are participating in a pilot project that uses customized hybrid technology for yard hostlers to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy.
Hostlers are used to move containers around the terminal, but since they make frequent starts and stops, they have a high percentage of idling time. Therefore, they make ideal vehicles with which to test the viability of using hybrid technology in cargo-handling equipment.
The Port Authority has partnered with the Port of Rotterdam – Europe's busiest port – on the hybrid yard hostler pilot project, working through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's International Sustainable Ports and Carriers Partnership. The hydraulic hybrid yard hostler, first seen at the SAE World Congress in Detroit in April 2009, has begun operational evaluation at the APM Terminal in Elizabeth, NJ.
If you are interested in participating in the Program, please contact William Nurthen, General Manager, Port Commerce Environmental & Waterways Development Programs at (212) 435-4220 or Annette Barry-Smith, Program Manager, at (212) 435-4276.
The level of satisfaction with the services provided by the Port of New York and New Jersey continues to show improvement.
In 2010, the Port of New York and New Jersey conducted its fourth container terminal customer satisfaction survey. This latest survey expanded its scope to gauge customer's reactions to emerging issues facing the Port. Within its latest parameters, the survey measured current performance in port services, specific container terminal ratings, and emerging concerns and issues, as well as perceptions surrounding the Port of NY and NJ. The study also identified changes in overall customer satisfaction with the Port and its six container terminals.
The survey was conducted by an independent survey company, Liebermann Research Group, from August through September 2010 and included 602 phone interviews. Liebermann measured this year's results against the last two studies of this type, which took place in 2008 and 2006. Four key groups provided the survey's data: ocean carriers, truckers, intermediaries (freight forwarders, non-vessel operating common carriers, and customs brokers), and importers/exporters.
The results show that in 2010, more than 40 percent of the Port of New York and New Jersey's customers said they were “Highly Satisfied” with the services provided by the port. This represents a nearly 300 percent increase over those who reported they were “dissatisfied.”
In fact, 43 percent of the overall port community said they were “Extremely” or “Very Satisfied” with overall port services. This figure has risen consistently from 33 percent in 2006 to 35 percent in 2008. Among the four groups surveyed, importers/exporters were the most satisfied; nearly 60 percent of their population supported the overall trend.
The port's reputation saw the largest satisfaction increase in the category of port management, up fully 12 percent from the previous year. Other large increases took place in the categories of cargo safety/security and industry leadership:
Other major findings included:
Interestingly, more than half of the total population survey agreed with the statement that “the Port of NY and NJ is well positioned to compete with ports like Norfolk.” However, an even greater percentage agreed with the statement that “the region needs to provide more resources to expand and increase distribution centers.”
Yet despite the challenges faced by the Port to handle increased cargo volume, rail service was cited as making strides.
The level of agreement with a variety of statements suggests that the current infrastructure and future expenditures in the region and in the Port of New York and New Jersey are not sufficient to support future growth.
As always, we expect and rely on your feedback. Please feel free to get in touch with us. Send your e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brian Kobza (left) of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey presents a plaque to Mr. T.R. Lee of Yang-Ming (USA) in recognition of being the first Ocean going Carrier to sign up for and participate in the PANYNJ Low Sulfur Fuel Program. For more information about the program please contact Sharon Heller.