Winter Weather Plan

The Port of New York and New Jersey Prepared for the Winter 2014-2015

Last winter was exceptionally cold and snowy across most of the United States. The Port of New York and New Jersey was hit particularly hard with a record snowfall of 61 inches – nearly 33 inches above normal. The weather had a profound impact on the port's ability to remain efficient and provide reliable service to our customers. Thankfully, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration's Winter Outlook, which was issued last month, indicates that a repeat of last year's extremely cold, snowy winter is "unlikely." Whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at us this winter, measures have been taken at the Port of New York and New Jersey to help minimize the potential impact.

Based on the proven success of last year, The Port Authority of NY & NJ will continue to host planning conferences in advance of each predicted weather event. The terminal operators, trucking associations, labor, equipment providers, and US Customs and Border Protection will all work together to develop a unified plan to address any weather-related closings and to plan recovery efforts. Any changes in hours of operations (i.e. weather related closures, additional hours etc) will be communicated as early as possible so that truckers and Beneficial Cargo Owners can better plan future container recovery.

The following is a summary of actions that have or will be taken this winter:

Roadways & Terminals

  • After a trial last winter, the Port Authority will pre-treat the roadways with brine before driving conditions deteriorate. This delays the buildup of snow and ice and allows the plows to stay on top of the accumulation.
  • The Port Authority and terminals have all worked to increase the amount of snow removal equipment and salt stockpiles that are on hand.
  • Terminals have developed plans to employ different yard strategies that would make for easier and more efficient plowing.
  • The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) has worked with terminal operators to develop a tiered staffing plan based on predicted weather for snow removal.
  • Mobile Apps are now available that allow truckers to check on the condition of most terminals and to confirm container status (Import Container Availability, Booking Inquiry, Receiving Schedule and Empty Return/Dispatch) using their Smartphones.
  • Customers are encouraged to sign up for PortNYNJAlerts at http://www.paalerts.com/default_Port.aspx to receive the latest information about terminal and roadway conditions, closures and more.

Free Time & Per Diem

In the event that a joint decision is made for all container terminals to close for the entire day due to inclement weather:

  • The Terminal Operators have agreed to extend free time by 24 hours for all containers not already in demurrage.
  • OCEMA (Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association) has recommended to its Ocean Carrier members to extend free time by 24 hours for all containers not already in demurrage.
  • Intermodal Equipment Providers have agreed to waive per diem charges for the day of the port closure for all chassis on daily or pool usage agreements provided that they are returned to an authorized Stop Location within 24 hours of the closure. The above does not apply to chassis on term lease agreements.

Holiday Weeks

  • As with last year, the timing of both the Christmas and New Year’s holidays will result in two three-day work weeks. The Terminal Operators will review their vessel schedules and inventory levels and make an effort to decide with a week or more notice on extending their hours of operation during the holiday weeks.

Chassis

  • The equipment providers continue to increase their buffer stock and increase the number of roadworthy units in the region.

Intermodal Rail Carriers

  • The rail carriers will continue to issue bulletins on their service level. You can sign up to receive service alerts on the individual railroad websites.

Customs Exam Stations (CES)

  • To ensure pick up on the first day of availability, CES increased the size of the dedicated chassis fleet and drivers.
  • CES will extend operating hours as needed.
  • CES has secured additional snow removal equipment/contractors.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

  • During the months of November 2014 thru January 2015, CBP and the CES operators will be providing extended hours of service to accommodate the peak season associated with cold treated/perishable imports.
  • CBP is prepared to take extraordinary measures if necessary to clear any exam boxes.

Labor

  • Since February, 495 new longshore workers (as of November 12, 2014) have been certified and added to the labor registry. Though their training on heavy equipment and vessel gangs continues, these individuals became immediately available as car drivers and baggage handlers. Hiring priorities have changed to ensure that critical equipment vacancies are filled before other less-skilled positions.
  • Forty-nine new Checkers have also been certified.

Key Performance Indicators

In March 2014 an initial list of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were collected from the terminal operators and reported in the aggregate on a monthly basis including gate moves, inventory and dwell time. These metrics will continue to be made available on a monthly basis via the Monthly Activity Report.  We will also begin to collect and report on the volume of Trouble Tickets with the hope that as certain Port Performance Task Force recommendations are implemented, the frequency of Trouble Tickets should sharply decrease. 

How Can You Help

Port Drivers and Beneficial Cargo Owners are still encouraged to:

a) verify both chassis and container availability before dispatching a driver to the port;

b) ensure that all charges have been paid and releases are in place; and,

c) confirm export receiving and cut off times by checking the terminal websites.

Your compliance with this request will increase efficiencies and service reliability for everyone involved at the port, and the port community thanks you in advance for doing so.

Current Weather




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