By Beth Hughes
Hay, as in food for cattle, may soon be exported to the Middle East through the Port of New York & New Jersey. It’s true. Just ask Frank Folise, the owner of Resources Warehousing & Consolidation Services of North Bergen, N.J. Saudi Arabia has one of the largest dairy farms in the world, and the cost of growing hay there due to the scarcity of water is very expensive, he said. “So, it may come to fruition.”
PNCT is equipped with 300 reefer power packs and 100 mobile units. The terminal operator uses wheels for special treatment of customer merchandise.
The hay, grown in the Midwest, is now exported through the Port of Houston, but the Gulf Coast humidity can cause hay rot. That’s why the bales may come by rail to New Jersey instead.
Several factors, in addition to a favorable exchange rate and rising standards of living in markets once unable to afford imports, are changing the kinds and quantities of exports moving through the port. For example, meat and woodpulp muscled construction equipment and electrical components off the Top 20 list of commodities exported through the port, according to figures for the first six months of 2008.
Some factors behind the changes are uncontrollable, such as drought in Australia that has turned the United States into an alternative supplier for dairy and meat products; while others mark worldwide shifts, such as the rising standards of living in Asia and Eastern Europe.
The high number of steamship lines regularly serving the port, and the steady supply of containers have been cited by some shippers as positive reasons for shipping through NY/NJ. It’s a very important attribute of the port and an important selling point according to Gerard N. von Dohlen, President of Newark Refrigerated Warehouse. We are the only port on the East Coast with a 12-month, reliable supply of refrigerated containers,” said von Dohlen. We’ve always been able to get them in a reasonable amount of time, and all the big exporters know that.”
Container availability is what attracted Ray Hufnagel’s business. He’s president of Plastic Express, a 38-year-old California company. They have a facility at the Raritan Distribution Center in Edison, N.J. “The growth we have seen through the port has been a direct factor of container availability being better on the East Coast,” he said. His company handles exports of polypropylene and polyethylene used in the manufacture of many products from plastic bottles and furniture to carpets and plumbing materials.
Container availability also helped Resources Warehousing gain grain transload business. Most of it is grown in upstate New York, destined to Southeast Asia, primarily Indonesia and Malaysia, he said. The grain arrives in hopper cars by rail to his 160,000 square foot facility, where it’s transloaded into standard 40-foot containers. “Containers are hard to find inland, but at the Port of New York & New Jersey, there is a steady supply,” he said.
Indeed, exports of grain products (soybeans, cereals and animal feeds) increased 87.4 percent in the first half of 2008 vs 2007 to 11,876TEUs. Folise credits regional and port rail connections with being able to accommodate this increase in grain exports. Von Dohlen says an increase in the standard of living worldwide is behind an increase in the meat exports. Pork goes to Russia, Eastern European countries and China. Poultry exports through the port increased by 35.6 percent in the first half of 2008. Beef exports have increased as well.
In July, the U.S. beef industry achieved an important benchmark, when the value of beef exports surpassed imports for the first time since the discovery of mad cow disease closed most global markets to U.S. beef in December 2003, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. For the Port of NY/NJ, this meant a 127% increase in meat exports for the first half of 2008 vs 2007 first half.
Harbor Freight USA exports aluminum and other metals. Metals are the third largest category of exports at the Port of NY & NJ.
Mike Morrow, VP of Sales at the Judge Organization/Port Elizabeth Terminal and Warehouse, said India’s thriving newspaper industry is also driving a growth in exports. The 850,000 square foot, single-story facility specializes in paper and pulp products. He’s seeing growth in the export of secondary waste papers, often compressed into bundles.
Paper is the port’s No.1 export, with 140,537 TEUs in the first six months of 2008, an increase of 14.54 percent over the same period in 2007. Containerized pulp exports increased 251.4 percent. Morrow said the surge in exports contributes to his company’s growing use of the port’s rail facilities. The organization handles 9,000 rail cars a year, up from approximately 2,500 five years ago.
That kind of growth is seen in other commodities. Steve Liberti Sr., President of Harbor Freight USA, has also seen destinations change, with heavy machinery and industrial equipment headed to China and India. “Russia has become a big player, too, because of the mines over there.” said Liberti. His facility is equipped with indoor overhead cranes, capable of holding up to 40 tons, and an outdoor crane that accommodates up to 25 tons.
“We do a tremendous amount of aluminum and other metals leaving the country,” Liberti said. Indeed, metals are the third largest category of exports. According to PIERS, 28,956 TEUs left the Port from January through June 2008, up 48.8 percent over the same period in 2007.
At Ports America, the dollar’s decline has meant an increase in automobile exports. Used vehicles headed for South America have long been part of the company’s export roster. Recently, however, Terminal Manager Jorge Taboada has seen new vehicles from General Motors and Ford join the outflow of cars, trucks, SUVs, farm equipment, trailers and semis.
Now, the cars are bound for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Finland is the top recipient, getting 21,411 TEUs of cars in the first six month of 2008. Germany, the Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Russia follow. The trend holds at other terminals as well.
According to PIERS, automobiles ranked second on the list of top 20 Port of NY/NJ exports. In the first half of 2008, containerized automobile exports increased by 72.2 percent over the preceding year, from 62,125 TEUs to 106,978.01 TEUs.
(in Millions of U.S. Dollars)
|Rank||Metropolitan Area||2005||2006||First Half
|1||New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island NY-NJ-PA||55,565||66,229||39,721|
|2||Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX||41,748||53,281||29,894|
|3||Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA||43,814||48,718||25,985|
|7||San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||25,843||28,171||13,945|
|8||Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, FL||20,383||23,491||12,325|
|9||Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||20,541||22,462||10,657|
|11||San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA||14,707||18,358||9,988|
|12||Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI||15,938||17,602||9,954|
|16||San Juan-Caguas-Guaynabo, PR||9,156||10,874||6,958|
|17||San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA||13,193||13,618||6,947|
|19||Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA||11,063||11,394||5,982|