On Wednesday, July 18, the Port Authority announced it will finish the deck removal portion of the Bayonne Bridge Raise the Roadway project six months ahead of schedule, thereby completing work before the newly-expanded Panama Canal opens for next-generation super-sized cargo vessels.
Work on the Raise the Roadway Project will begin in mid-2013 with crews building a new, roadbed 64 feet above the current one. The new roadbed will rise 215 feet above the Kill Van Kull and allow larger cargo ships to pass beneath the bridge's iconic arch. Port Authority officials said the original roadbed (at 151 feet above the waterline) will be removed by Fall of 2015. The original project timeline called for removal by mid-2016.
In all, Raise the Roadway is forecast to create more than 6,300 well-paying employment opportunities for a range of trades, from ironworkers to electricians, $380 million in wages, and $1.6 billion in economic activity. While providing significant economic benefits to local businesses and services, the project will also ensure that the Port of New York and New Jersey maintains its status as the premiere center of east coast trade for many years to come.
To view a short video outlining the scope and sophistication of the project, visit:
On July 2, 2012, the Panama Canal Authority announced that construction delays have forced completion of the Canal project back into 2015. Alberto Alemán Zubieta, the Panama Canal administrator, said that, once construction was complete, another eight months of testing would be required before the Canal could be called fully operational.
Transportation experts consider the Bayonne Bridge project critical to maintaining the Port of New York and New Jersey cargo volumes. At present, the port handles 30 percent of all goods shipped to the East Coast. In 2011 it broke previous records (see article in this issue 2011 Sets TEU Record at Port), surpassing previous volume heights set before the start of the global economic downturn, and handled more cargo containers than its closest competitors – Savannah, Norfolk and Baltimore – combined.
Over the past ten years, The Port Authority has invested more than $2 billion to build new port infrastructure. The Port of New York and New Jersey now has the largest rail capacity of any East Coast port, the most terminal capacity and berth capacity, the largest labor force, and the largest trucking fleet on the East Coast. The port also offers more shipping services to more destinations than any port on the East Coast. Goods shipped to the port can reach more than 100 million customers in 24 hours, a feat no other port can match.
"Raising the roadway on the Bayonne Bridge paves the way to a brighter, competitive economic future for New Jersey and the region," said New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie. "Completing this important project ahead of schedule will ensure that our ports remain a vital link to the global economy and the destination of choice for international shippers and cargo."
"Raising the Bayonne Bridge is critical to ensuring that our region's ports remain competitive in the global market," said New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo. "The expedited construction timeline puts the Port Authority on pace to complete this major construction project ahead of schedule and positions our region's port to receive larger post-Panamax ships when the Panama Canal is widened. In addition to securing the future of our region's port, New York and the entire region will benefit directly from many of the 6,300 high-paying jobs created by the innovative Raise the Roadway project."
"The Port of New York and New Jersey is our region's economic engine. We will finish this project six months ahead of schedule," said Port Authority Chairman David Samson. "Raising the Bayonne Bridge is the most critical infrastructure project facing the Port Authority and the region," said Chairman Samson. "That is why this project is the top priority of the Port Authority, and we are confident that when the Panama Canal opens, that first ship through the canal will then pass under the new Bayonne Bridge to call on the Port of New York and New Jersey—the premier destination of cargo on the East Coast."
Said Port Authority Vice Chairman Scott Rechler: "This project is a prime example of how the Port Authority is working to cut red tape and expedite reviews that delay the delivery of important projects. Every day that we can move this project forward is good for our port and good for the region."
"We are committed to getting projects like the Bayonne Bridge to market quickly while protecting our environment at the same time," said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. "Raising the Roadway will allow larger container ships, burning less fuel per container and deploying the latest ballast water and other environmentally friendly technology, to enter our port. I look forward to welcoming post-Panamax ships to our shores in 2015."
"Thanks to the hard work of Port Authority staff – and our federal, state and local partners – we will be able to Raise the Roadway ahead of the Panama Canal," said Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni. "This critical infrastructure project will create more than 6,300 construction jobs and ensure the 279,000 jobs supported by the port will continue to flourish."
The Port Authority has received the unanimous endorsement of the combined New York and New Jersey senate delegations for inclusion in President Obama's March 2012 Executive Order to expedite infrastructure projects. The United States Coast Guard, which is the lead federal agency of the Raise the Roadway project, continues to expedite the environmental review process. In addition, both the State Historic Preservation Offices in New York and New Jersey have conducted detailed and extensive reviews of architectural, archaeological and historical elements, and developed comprehensive recommendations to preserve and protect the Bayonne Bridge.
In the approximately two years since its inception, the Port Authority's Truck Replacement Program (TRP) has worked toward greening our port region.
To date, the TRP has removed over 217 trucks with older model engines from area roadways, and helped replace them with trucks featuring newer, more pollutant free engines. Specifically, the TRP targets trucks with engine years model 2003 or older, while aiming to replace them with trucks featuring EPA emissions-compliant engines (Model Year 2004 or newer).
The TRP began with a $7 million grant from EPA to replace trucks with engines Model Year 1993 and older, according to Atef Ahmed, a manager with the Port Authority's environmental and waterways team.
"The program was a success in that we captured the target population of trucks with 1993 and older engines," says Ahmed. "But we still had funds left over. So, in January of 2011, we submitted an application to expand the eligibility criteria. We asked EPA if we could begin accepting applications to replace trucks engine year 2003 and older. EPA approved our request in March 2011. Shortly thereafter, we implemented expanded eligibility. Almost immediately, we saw a tremendous upsurge in applications."
The TRP combines grant money from the federal EPA with a low cost financing option from the Port Authority. Eligible applicants can receive funds equaling up to 25 percent of a newer vehicle's purchase price (based on the 2008 NADA equivalent retail value) and low-interest financing for the remainder.
Approximately 98.5 percent of Independent Owner/Operators (IOOs) who submitted an approved application chose to accept both the EPA grant and the Port Authority sponsored loan.
Ahmed notes that his department is particularly pleased with these figures since IOOs are usually least likely to possess financing capability for a new vehicle or vehicles without assistance.
"The TRP's financing options have allowed many truckers to achieve the dream of owning their own vehicle."
And with this dream comes a forecast for dramatic reduction in greenhouse gasses. Estimates show that the newer trucks:
Estimates also show that, over the 10-year useful lifespan of the trucks replaced to date (207), regional pollutants will have been reduced by:
Steve Krawczuk, owner of Quality Transportation, is one of the hundreds of truck owners who participated in the TRP. Steve has been in the transportation business since 1984, and has serviced Port Authority marine terminals for over ten years.
When Steve learned about the TRP, he saw the opportunity to replace one of his fleet's older vehicles, and was eager to do so. In June 2010, Steve submitted an application to replace his 1988 Volvo with a newer, more comfortable and cleaner 2005 Freightliner. In addition to receiving the 25 per cent grant and low-interest financing offered by the program, Steve felt that participating in the TRP also meant he was contributing to a cleaner environment and the overall health of Quality Transportation drivers. He later used the TRP to replace two 1994 trucks with 2006 Freightliners.
"My participation in the TRP," he said, "has been an excellent investment for my company and I highly recommend the program."
Earlier this spring, the Port Authority's TRP team won the Northeast Diesel Collaborative (NEDC) Breathe Easy Award.
Breathe Easy recognizes the outstanding efforts of individuals or organizations who actively promote NEDC's goal to reduce diesel emissions, and have made significant contributions to improving air quality and public health.
On February 29, 2012, Maher Terminals LLC announced it will launch several industry-leading environmental and energy facility upgrades at its Elizabeth terminal in partnership with the EPA, NJDEP, and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The upgrades are designed to decrease carbon monoxide emissions at the terminal by over eight million pounds annually.
"As citizens and neighbors of Elizabeth, Newark and the surrounding communities, we are committed to growing our terminal sustainably and responsibly," said Frans van Riemsdyk, Executive Vice President of Maher Terminals as quoted in NJtoday.net. "Our hope is that the expected increase in container volumes from the expansion of the Panama Canal and the ‘deck raising' of the Bayonne Bridge will contribute to jobs and revenue for the State of New Jersey. We continue to raise the bar for our industry as we prepare for the future."
The Maher upgrades are slated to include:
In addition to these measures, Maher has donated two fuel-efficient vehicles to the Ironbound Community Corporation for use in its senior service programs. Maher has also begun to explore the feasibility of an alternative fuel vehicle program in conjunction with broader efforts made by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and neighboring properties in the Port region.
Said Richard M. Larrabee, the Port Authority's director of port commerce: "Maher's dedication to a more sustainable waterfront bodes well for all constituents in our port community."
By 2014, the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will host the East Coast's first shore electric facility predicted to generate $22 million in economic activity and 30 new jobs.
Opened in 2006, BCT is one of the newest additions to the Port of New York and New Jersey, and serves as a homeport for both the Princess and Cunard Cruise Lines. On June 28, 2012, the Board of Directors for The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey authorized additional funds provided by the Empire State Development Corporation to complete the $19.3 million project. The new facility will enable cruise ships docking at BCT to plug-in to landside electrical power sources rather than using their internal, diesel-powered generators. Shore power allows ships— including the Queen Mary 2, one of the largest passenger ships in the world — to eliminate their use of high-sulfur fuel while at port. Ships that dock at the BCT can remain there for up to 11 hours in order to facilitate the loading and unloading of passengers and supplies.
Estimates predict that, within its first year of operation, the shore power facility at BCT could prevent over 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide exhaust from entering the atmosphere, as well as 95 tons of nitrous oxide and 6.5 tons of other particulate matter.
For more information, please visit www.panynj.gov/press-room.
The implementation of four new Centralized Examination Stations (CESs) by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has resulted in faster overall turnaround times for cargo, says Adele Fasano, CBP's Port Director for the Port of New York/Newark.
According to Fasano, overall turnaround times include such factors as:
Turnaround times recorded post transition to the new CES system beat pre-transition turnaround times handily. The data set included all inspection instances: full strips, backins, cold treatments, the works.
"Our original goal," says Fasano, "was to – at very least -- maintain the same level of service. But preliminary data suggests that, from a cycle time perspective, we've demonstrated significant improvement in the efficiency of our enforcement exams and nonintrusive inspections. This goes particularly for the full strip exams and exams in the agricultural arena."
A study put out by Rutgers University confirms CBP's findings.
Basil Liakakos, chief agricultural specialist for CBP, says the formation of regular working groups has greatly increased efficiencies.
"Although each CES is run by a different service provider," says Liakakos, "we've generated a set of universal best practices from those measures that seem to make the most positive impacts."
"[Via the workgroups], we sit down with each CES and compare data on a weekly basis," says Mr. Liakakos. "We can analyze where a particular CES is weak, where they can improve, and prescribe methods to achieve that improvement. And while we can't force any CES to implement the measures we recommend, the data we show them speaks for itself."
Liakakos notes that, although costs for inspections have increased, the trade has received great value in the reduced turnaround times.
"We know that, if you increase fees, you have to give something back," he says. "So we're holding our new CESs to standards of accountability. If something goes wrong, we can troubleshoot it, implement improvements, and check to see how these improvements are working. Overall, it's a much better system than the one that was previously in place."
Ms. Fasano notes that staffing problems and budget restraints at her agency led to the consolidation and centralization of examination stations as a means of achieving greater efficiencies.
According to a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Port Authority, CBP will continue to perform on-terminal examinations on freight arriving at Red Hook Container (with some improvements to the physical plant) over the next five years.
For more information on the four specific CESs, as well as rate information submitted by each site's individual service provider, click here.
A slate of ongoing roadway improvements at Port Newark has yielded safer conditions and better traffic flow according to Andrew Saporito, the Port Authority's general manager of New Jersey marine terminals.
The various improvement projects fall under the Port Authority's Traffic Safety Improvement Program (TSIP), a joint effort between the agency's Traffic Engineering, Public Safety (PAPD), Law, and Line departments.
"The goal of TSIP is to minimize the frequency, severity, and risk of motor vehicle crashes at Port Authority facilities," says Michael Diculescu, a principal traffic engineer. "We do this by strategically focusing attention and resources on those areas where our data indicates the greatest problems exist."
The data Diculescu refers to is contained in a sophisticated, rigorously maintained, "queryable" computer system that tracks all vehicular infractions on Port Authority premises in conjunction with the PAPD.
"Using this information," Diculescu says, "we can analyze which crash locations predominate, and under what conditions, then recommend and prioritize capital projects to mitigate accidents. We started this program in 2000 and, since then, we've seen a marked decrease in overall vehicle crashes."
Port Authority planners designed TSIP to address the "4Es" of traffic safety:
To fulfill the "education" quotient, the Port Authority has developed and carried out a number of safety-related public education campaigns.
Since TSIP's inception in 2000, motor vehicle crashes at Port Authority facilities have decreased by 36percent. Significant decreases have occurred at the North Avenue/McLester Street Curve and the Port Street Connector, where short-term traffic safety and long-term capital improvement projects recently wrapped up. Overturn crashes at Port Newark/Elizabeth have also decreased significantly due to continued collaboration between Engineering, PAPD and facility staff.
The total number of motor vehicle crashes at Newark and Elizabeth has also declined in recent years.
Both Saporito and Diculescu note that the TSIP's systematic process saves lives, reduces personal injury and property damage occurrences, and reduces risk to Port Authority customers. The program dovetails with a comprehensive study of the entire roadway system at Port Newark and Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal, which was completed in 2007.
"The study identified numerous locations that required roadway realignment, widening, and traffic signal improvements," says Diculescu. "Not coincidentally, a lot of these locations are the very same places TSIP aims to mitigate. We've already broken ground on many of these projects. Others have entered the planning and design stages."
Saporito agrees. "Completing the TSIP capital projects will improve the Port's roadway system in a variety of ways. We should see more increases in throughput capacity, enhanced safety conditions, and improved traffic flow, as well as better access and egress to and from the Port."
New statistics released by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey show that cargo volumes for 2011 at the Port of New York and New Jersey rose 4.0 percent from levels logged in 2010.
The statistics also indicated that the 5.5 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) loaded and unloaded in 2011 set a new volume record for the port.
Perhaps most encouraging, however, is that ExpressRail, the Port Authority's on-dock rail system, handled 422,144 cargo containers, or an increase of 12.0 percent over totals from 2010.
Cargo volumes calculated for the early months of 2012 already appear promising. For instance:
The monthly total numbers of ExpressRail lifts for early 2012 were also worth noting. For example:
Said Richard M. Larrabee, the Port Authority's director of port commerce, "The investments we have made in the Port's infrastructure -- ranging from deeper channels, enlarged terminals, expanded roadways, and the largest intermodal rail facility on the east coast -- are beginning to pay dividends. Cargo can now flow through our facilities in greater volumes, and with greater efficiency."
Larrabee noted that, in 2012, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will invest $275 million in seaport-related improvements to improve efficiency and capacity at the Port.
Operation Sail and the United States Navy celebrated the bicentennial of the Star-Spangled Banner in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, New York from May 23, 2012 through May 30, 2012.
Class A tall ships from countries all over the world sailed to New York where they were joined by the United States Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Eagle for the Star-Spangled Sail to commemorate the War of 1812. This year marked the 200th anniversary of the United States' declaration of war on the United Kingdom.
A bit of history: in May 1963, President John F. Kennedy and late maritime historian Frank Braynard envisioned a nautical spectacle of the parade of sails through New York Harbor. "Operation Sail" quickly grew in popularity, and has become an annual event to celebrate the majesty and beauty of international tall ships. DEFINITION OF TALL SHIP Class A tall ships, spanning over 40 meters in Length Overall,
This year, the tall ships berthed at Port Authority Piers in Brooklyn included:
Warships berthed at the Brooklyn Piers included:
Two USCGCs, the Willow and the Seneca were also berthed at Brooklyn.
Staff members (left to right) Rebecca Economos, Tim Gard, and Judy Stringer of NYMT Operations stand before the ARM Cuauhtémoc, a sail training vessel of the Mexican Navy, named for the last Aztec Emperor Cuauhtémoc. The Cuauhtémoc is the last of four sister ships built in Bilbao, Spain in 1982 to a design similar to that used by such vessels as the USCGC Eagle.
After the Parade of Sail on opening day, the vessels mentioned above proceeded to their assigned berths at the Brooklyn Piers, where family and friends met each ship's crew. Later that evening, military personnel from all OpSail vessels were treated to a show put on by the USO Liberty Bells and a special concert by Katy Perry held on pier 9A in Brooklyn.
For the remainder of their stay in Brooklyn, the vessels granted shore leave to approximately 1,500 officers and crew, held a series of private receptions for specials guests and VIP's, and provided private tours to school groups and others.