Winter Weather Plan

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The Port of New York and New Jersey Prepared for the
Winter 2015-2016

Last winter was relatively mild as compared to the winter before when we were hit with a record snowfall of 61 inches – nearly twice the norm. The weather had a profound impact on the port’s ability to remain efficient and provide reliable service to our customers. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Winter Outlook, which was issued last month, indicates that this winter will be warmer and wetter – but not necessarily snow and ice. Whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at us this winter, measures have been taken in the Port of New York and New Jersey to help minimize the potential impact.

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. terminal closures, additional hours etc) will be communicated as early as possible via the PortNYNJAlerts system at www.paalerts.com/default_Port.aspx and on the homepage of the Terminal Information Portal System (TIPS) at www.porttruckpass.com so that truckers and importers/exporters can better plan future container receipt and delivery.

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

Roadways & Terminals

  • 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 any accumulation.
  • The Port Authority and terminals have all worked to increase the amount of snow removal equipment and salt stockpiles on hand.
  • Terminal operators have developed plans to employ different yard strategies that make for easier and more efficient plowing and are working with labor to address changing operational demands based on the weather conditions at-hand.

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 will 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 will 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

  • The timing of both the Christmas and New Year’s holidays will result in two three-day workweeks. 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.

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 and Border Protection (CBP)

  • CBP has a continuity of trade plan in place for weather related emergencies.  The 24-hour supervisor can be reached at 201-443-0300.
  • During the months of November 2015 thru February 2016, CBP and the CES operators will provide extended hours of service to accommodate the peak season associated with cold treated / perishable imports.

Labor

  • In the past 18 months, 621 longshoremen, 108 clerks and 147 mechanics have been certified and added to the labor registry.

How Can You Help

Trucking companies, importers and exporters, NVOCC’s and other service providers are 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; 

c) confirm export receiving and cut off times by;

d) utilize all available hours at the container terminals to conduct your transaction;

e) make use of TIPS (www.porttruckpass.com) to help optimize your visit to the port, and;

f) review the Truckers’ Resource Guide for procedures, Frequently Asked Questions and ways to avoid the Trouble Window

Drivers should be reminded to remove all snow/ice accumulation from the tops of containers before coming to the port. It is against the law in many states to operate on a public road with snow/ice on your vehicle.  It could also delay your time at the terminals if the cargo handling equipment is unable to securely connect to the container.

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

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