The annual Port Guide has become a venerated tradition at the Port of New York and New Jersey. A handbook connecting all members of the port community, the Guide has featured editorial content, maps, terminal specifications, and verified data on businesses such as truckers, warehousers, ocean carriers, freight forwarders, and more.
"The need to publish a comprehensive Port Guide hasn't changed," says Pete Zantal of the Port Authority's Port Commerce Department. "If anything, we need the guide now more than ever. What's evolved is the medium people prefer. We've been fielding calls to make the Guide digital for some time. So this year, that's what we did."
The original Port Guide was published traditionally as a printed, bound book that many port constituents kept handy on their office desktops. In the early 2000s, the Port Authority printed and distributed several thousand bound Port Guides annually. In 2007, however, the agency embraced the global trend toward digitized content. That year, the Port Authority evenly split the number of Guides it produced between traditional print and CD versions.
Feedback from the port community followed. Over the next three years, port constituents stated a preference for PDF files that could be viewed on computers or tablets over physical printed material. The number of requests for printed Port Guides fell sharply. A waning technology, compact discs were soon replaced by branded memory sticks. The Port Authority also created online searchable tools that made the Guide easy to use via any Internet connection at any time.
"A printed guide poses certain limitations that don't fit with our modern port community," Zantal says. "For instance, we couldn't update a bound book more than once a year. That's a real hindrance when you're trying to service a fast-paced business environment. From another perspective, our agency has always championed a sustainable port environment. Posting information online is another step toward a greener region."
2013 marks the first year the Port Guide releases exclusively as online digital content. The product has been rebranded to celebrate the transition. No longer the Port Guide, it's now called The Port Directory of The Port of New York and New Jersey.
The new Port Directory went live on November 29, 2012 to correspond with the Port Industry Briefing event held at the Marriott near Liberty International Airport in Newark.
The new Port Directory features enhanced search capabilities
The new Port Directory serves as the "go to" search tool for customers of the Port of New York and New Jersey. It's divided into four main parts.
Be sure to bookmark this link to the new online Port Directory of The Port of New York and New Jersey.
And please note: customers whose directory information has changed can update their listing at any time by sending their new information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After prolonged negotiations, the International Longshoremen's Association and the United States Maritime Alliance have agreed on a Master Contract covering ports from Maine to Texas, including the Port of New York and New Jersey.
The negotiation process made headlines when it required two extensions and the participation of federal mediators. During the process, various media speculated on the possibility of a shut down at one or more ports within the affected jurisdiction.
But on March 13, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George H. Cohen issued a statement from Washington D.C.:
"I am extremely pleased to announce that today the parties have approved their tentative agreement for a successor Master Agreement . . . This monumental result, which will be submitted to [each institution's] respective memberships for ratification, paves the way for six years of stable labor-management relations covering all the Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports. What this means in real life terms is that once again collective bargaining proved up to the task and played a major constructive role in helping to avoid a potential disruption that unquestionably would have had severe impact on the nation's economy—at the precise time that a significant recovery is in progress."
A pivotal part of securing an overall deal fell into place when the ILA and the New York Shipping Association reached a tentative agreement on a local contract addressing work rules and other issues for the 3,250 ILA workers at the Port of New York and New Jersey. The local port negotiation made milestone changes that New York Shipping Association President Joseph Curto said, "will allow us to begin an evolutionary progression of meaningful change that will improve the process for working ships, hiring labor, and paying key staff persons."
While full details are not yet available, port insiders say the new contract will create a relief gang shift work system, provide increased worker pension benefits, and lay the groundwork for a more productive port.
The new, tentative contract goes to ILA's 14,500 members and to members of the United States Maritime Alliance for ratification. The Master Contract must also be approved by the container carriers, terminal operators, and port associations that make up USMX's membership.
Highlights of the proposed Master Contract include:
The ratification process will conclude in two stages. The union's general membership will vote on April 9, followed by a full employer vote on or about April 17. Once ratified by all parties, the proposed Master Contract will replace the agreement that technically expired on Sept. 30, 2012.
Said ILA President Harold Daggett: "Our ILA Wage Scale delegates have achieved a great contract for the rank-and-file members we represent…Our union worked hard for over a year to bring home a landmark agreement that I am sure our members will ratify."
Said USMX Chairman and CEO James A. Capo: "We're obviously pleased we were able to reach an agreement with the ILA and now look forward to the final ratification votes and completion of local bargaining. . .Given the industry's essential role in the U.S. economy, it's vitally important that we've resolved our differences and have come to an agreement, preventing any disruption of port operations."
In a recent letter to members of the port trucking community, Rick Larrabee, Director of the Port Authority's Port Commerce Department discussed the forthcoming Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system.
"In order to increase security and maritime domain awareness, the RFID system will allow the container terminal operators and Port Authority to clearly track and identify all trucks seeking access to secure areas of Port Authority container and rail terminals," Larrabee wrote. "Effective July 15, 2013, trucks without an RFID tag will be turned away from these facilities."
The need for this new technology was discussed previously in the Winter 2012 issue of Port Views (New Technology Improves Port Security and Environment). Mr. Larrabee's letter highlights the importance of respecting a change date that will alter how our port does business.
Port Authority staff have fielded a number of inquiries regarding the new RFID. A list of the most Frequently Asked Questions they receive includes:
In his letter, Mr. Larrabee reiterated the importance of the new RFID program. "Our goal is fast, secure, green cargo movement. We know the port trucking community embraces and shares this goal, and I thank you for your continued support."
"This is the first of many notifications we will be sending to the port trucking community over the coming months," Mr. Larrabee wrote. "The Port Authority and container terminal operators have designed a robust communications and testing program to ensure the successful implementation of the RFID system."
(Please note: this article first ran as a Speed Challenge Performance Profile in the January 2013 edition of DC Velocity. Republished here by permission.)
Often the resiliency of a supply chain can be best measured when it is tested under the most extreme circumstances. For many customers of the Port of New York & New Jersey, that test came in the form of Hurricane Sandy. Being in the center of the storm's wrath, all of the terminals at the port were blasted by the record high winds and a 14-foot storm surge. "We had four feet of water across our pier. Our buildings, equipment, and people were all affected," notes Jim Pelliccio, president of Port Newark Container Terminal.
Electrical systems were damaged, offices were flooded, chassis were destroyed, and empty containers were tossed around like toys and shredded. Yet even while port workers were coping with the devastation of their own homes, they worked tirelessly to recover port operations within just a few days.
"It did not set us back; it just changed our mode of operation," adds Pelliccio. "It just shows what people can do when there is a crisis."
At the heart
Being at the center of action is nothing new to the Port of New York & New Jersey. As the gateway to the most populous part of the nation, the port's six terminals receive more first-in vessel calls than all other East Coast ports combined. Goods can reach one-third of U.S. and half of all Canadian consumers within 24 hours of hitting the NY/NJ berths. That is a responsibility the terminal operators take very seriously, and why they worked to restore operations so quickly following Sandy. The drive for superior service is also the reason why the Port Authority has invested over $2 billion in the past decade modernizing the port's infrastructure, with terminal operators making hefty investments in their facilities as well.
Many of these investments have been made in anticipation of the widening of the Panama Canal, which will bring larger ships to the East Coast. They include the deepening of channels to 50 feet to accommodate post-Panamax ships, the planned raising of the Bayonne Bridge to 215 feet above water, roadways that provide greater capacity and safety, and state-of-the-art tracking and communications systems that help customers know where their cargo is at all times.
The port and railroads have also partnered to make significant improvements to prepare for higher volumes from the canal. All three major railroads (CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Canadian Pacific) serve the port, providing quick double-stack connections to Eastern and Midwest markets, including fast dedicated service to Chicago and points west, such as Kansas City, St. Louis, and even the West Coast. Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Worcester, and Montreal are also served daily from the port. Construction is currently under way to add a fourth on-dock rail facility to the port – this one at Global Terminal in Jersey City. Expansion is also occurring at ExpressRail Newark.
CSX's investments in recent years include the raising of the Bergen and Waldo Tunnels in Jersey City to allow taller, double-stacked trains to swiftly leave the port area. New sidings and the addition of double track in strategic locations also allow greater traffic flow. CSX moves more than 300,000 containers inland by rail annually, with a large number of them moving to Chicago via its direct express train.
"We have a superior route that gets us quickly to the Midwest and that is at grade. Since we don't have to go through the mountains, it is fuel efficient and very competitive," says Vance Bennett, director of port development and strategy at CSX.
Norfolk Southern has also made major investments that have increased speed and capacity. More than 100,000 containers passed to the line from ExpressRail Elizabeth and Staten Island in 2012. NS offers direct service to Chicago and other destinations, which has grown in capacity as cargo has shifted from West to East.
"Historically, most freight heading from Asia to points in the East and Midwest moved through West Coast ports. As we have focused on developing capacity and infrastructure, that has shifted to where 60 percent now comes through the East Coast," says Jeff Heller, NS's group vice president of international intermodal. "For cargo passing through the Suez Canal and from Europe, the first port they come to is the Port of New York & New Jersey. We take advantage of that with greater capacity, and we have all of the options available to serve the larger ships."
These enhancements assure that freight at the Port of New York & New Jersey remains on track.
To watch a short video on new infrastructure investments at the Port of New York & New Jersey, go to dcvelocity.com or Channel Two of dcvtv.com. Proximity to the densely populated New York City metropolitan area is one of many reasons the Port of New York & New Jersey handles more first-in vessel calls than all other East Coast ports combined.
A new partnership that impacts both the local and global shipping community will begin this coming May, said William P. Doyle, Commissioner of the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) in a statement released March 12.
Under the new agreement, the G6 Alliance will deploy more than 50 ships in Trans-Pacific trade. These ships will call on nearly 30 ports throughout the world, including ports in Asia, the North American East Coast, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, the Indian Sub-continent, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.
"Sailing frequency at most U.S. East Coast Ports will increase compared to what is currently offered by The New World Alliance and The Grand Alliance," said Mr. Doyle. "Accordingly, the increase in port calls will have a positive impact on jobs – both in terms of retention and growth."
Doyle also noted that the new agreement will retain U.S.-Flag vessels in the current rotation while increasing the frequency of vessel port calls on the U.S. East Coast.
What is the G6 Alliance?
The G6 Alliance is one of the largest vessel networks in the Asia-to-Europe trade lane. Established in December 2011, the Alliance began operations in March 2012. Parties to the G6 Alliance include:
In addition, the G-6 Alliance maintains a vessel sharing agreement between the New World Alliance (APL, Hyundai, and MOL) and the Grand Alliance (Hapag-Lloyd, NYK, and OOCL).
The new agreement focuses on the countries/territories such as:
As part of the agreement, Mr. Doyle said, the FMC voted to monitor the G6 Alliance with the hope of detecting possible instances of capacity coordination among carriers. He added, "Based on my review of available information, I am pleased to support the new G6 Alliance agreement."
The Port Authority's Assistant Port Director, John Lava, retired from government service on January 3, 2013.
In a congratulatory letter, Director of Port Commerce Richard M. Larrabee, noted:
"I speak for the Port Authority and the entire port community when I express our sincere gratitude to you for your 34 years of service and outstanding leadership over the past six years serving as Assistant Port Director. Your hard work and diligence has greatly benefitted the port and has made a positive and significant impact on our region's global trade community. This past year has been particularly challenging with the realignment of [Centralized Examination Stations – CES] operations and the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy."
Mr. Lava began his government service in 1978 working as a Customs Aide assigned to work with commodity import specialists at JFK International Airport. His attention to detail, organizational skills, and ability to network both within and without his organization instigated his rise to National Import Specialist Assistant in 1983.
Between 1986 and 1987, Mr. Lava supervised a pilot program at 6WTC that integrated elements of three different divisions into one unit, thereby delivering a more accurate and speedy release of priority quota entries. Because of this program, the New York Seaport Area Director appointed him to participate in a new task force to plan, organize, and implement a Trade Sensitive Program for the New York and Newark Areas. The program was also successful and, in 1988, Mr. Lava was promoted to Branch Chief.
From 1995-2006, he served as Chief of the Entry Branch in the Port of New York/Newark. When 6 WTC was destroyed on September 11, 2001, Mr. Lava was appointed Project Manager for the relocation of displaced employees both at the interim location of the Newark Seaport and the new facility in Newark, NJ. He relocated the seized property vault to the Newark Seaport and created a symbolic CBP Office at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House in lower Manhattan. In 2006, Mr. Lava was promoted to Assistant Port Director for Tactical Operations within the Port of New York/Newark.
In this position, his list of accomplishments included providing essential operational guidance and support to members of the Tactical Operations and Trade Operations Division, which culminated in their receipt of the Commissioners Unit Citation Award in 2008 for outstanding efforts in the interdiction of counterfeit products. By managing the unique expertise of his staff, Mr. Lava's administration was able to seize over 370 violations of intellectual property, health and safety standards, and products totaling over $100 million worth of domestic value.
Most recently, the Newark Seaport suffered severe damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The facility's Radiation Portal Monitoring (RPM) equipment was damaged due to surging water, which in some areas reached four feet deep. RPM booths were destroyed and electronic equipment short-circuited. Cruise ship terminals were in shambles from debris and mud; their computers were damaged. The seaport went without power for a week following the storm.
Although many personnel suffered damage to their homes, under Mr. Lava's leadership, CBP operations at the port continued without disruption. The port's RPM equipment was repaired and made operational in remarkably short order so the port could reopen for commerce.
Among his many awards, Mr. Lava received a Commissioner's Unit Citation in 1989 and the Commissioner's Culture Change/Vision Award in 1996. Nationally, he was a member of the team that developed a Supervisory Import Specialist training course as well as an intermediate Customs Entry Officer training course. He was a member of the National Entry Specialist Advisory Board in Washington D.C., which developed a Counter-Terrorism Training Course for Entry Specialists.
Throughout his career, Mr. Lava has consistently demonstrated unparalleled commitment to the Port Authority's core values of vigILAnce, service, and integrity.
"We wish John well in retirement," says Richard Larrabee. "But he'll certainly be hard man to replace."