Press Release Article


Date: Mar 20, 2009
Press Release Number: 35-2009

Due to the current global economic downturn, cargo volumes at the Port of New York and New Jersey reported flat growth in container activity for the first time since 1993, the Port Authority reported today.

During 2008, the Port of New York and New Jersey reported that total container traffic in the port was 5,265,053 loaded and empty TEUs (20-foot equivalent units), compared to 5,299,105 in 2007. The agency said it expected this decreased activity to continue during 2009 as the full effect of the economic downturn is realized.

Over the long term, the agency said it continues to project cargo growth at the Port of New York and New Jersey, and is making the necessary investments in ExpressRail and other infrastructure to support this growth. Despite the challenging economic environment, the Port Authority’s port facilities continue to outperform other major ports in North America with container volume at the top 10 ports in North America declining by an average of 5 percent in 2008. In addition, the Port Authority reported that its $246 million 2009 investment in the ports helps support more than 230,000 port jobs.

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “After many years of rising container volumes, our port isn’t accustomed to flat growth. Still, we’re pleased that we outperformed other major U.S. ports and we’ll continue to invest heavily in our port - as a driver of job creation and economic recovery in the short-term, and to support our region’s long-term prosperity.”

Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said, “Now more than ever, we must work with our industry partners to improve our competitive position if we want to maintain the thousands of jobs and billions in economic activity that the port provides. At the same time, this is one more indication hat the Port Authority is not recession-proof, and we are committed to making the necessary adjustments to our operating and capital budget to reflect economic reality.”

Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Susan Bass Levin said, “Fifteen straight years with increased activity at our port facilities is an impressive run, and despite this year’s flat growth we look optimistically to the future. That’s why it is critical now, while we have the opportunity to create needed short-term jobs, to continue our investments in dredging, freight rail and upgrading roads to the terminals so our port is ready for the inevitable turnaround in global commerce."

Port Statistics for 2008

Port of New York and New Jersey terminal operator data reported that loaded TEUs in 2008 totaled 4,165,211. Loaded imports and exports totaled 2,548,973 and 1,616,238 respectively. Exports grew 9.4 percent from 2007 while imports fell 2.7 percent.

The port’s total general cargo volume, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Census, increased to 33.6 million metric tons in 2008, compared to 32.8 million metric tons in 2007. General cargo imports totaled 22.1 million metric tons, an increase of 0.2 percent. General cargo exports increased by 7.2 percent, from 10.8 million metric tons in 2007 to 11.5 million metric tons in 2008.

Total bulk cargo was up 1.6 percent to 55.3 million metric tons in 2008, compared to 54.4 million metric tons in 2007. Total bulk cargo imports, led by decreases in mineral fuel/oil, salt and sulfur, and beverages, declined from 47.1 million metric tons in 2007 to 45.3 million metric tons in 2008.

Total bulk cargo exports, led by increases in mineral fuel/oil, iron and steel and miscellaneous chemical products, increased by 36.7 percent, from 7.3 million metric tons in 2007 to 10 million metric tons in 2008. Total cargo volume by weight (bulk and general cargo combined), grew by 1.9 percent, from 87.2 million metric tons in 2007 to 88.9 million metric tons in 2008.

Other 2008 trade highlights include:

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Candace McAdams or Steve Coleman, 212-435-7777

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, Stewart International and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; the Greenville Yard-Port Authority Marine Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan and is a partner in the Access to the Region’s Core tunnel project.