ExpressRail Volumes at New Jersey Terminals Increase 22 Percent in 2004
ExpressRail, the Port Authority’s ship-to-rail terminals in New Jersey, shattered a record for container volume in 2004, handling 22 percent more containers than in 2003.
The ExpressRail terminals handled 283,529 containers in 2004. The previous record was set in 2003, when 232,867 containers were transported from the marine terminals to Port Authority rail facilities.
The substantial growth in rail traffic at the port was due to growth in containerized trade with Asia, combined with the opening of the ExpressRail Newark facility in 2003 and the first phase of the new ExpressRail Elizabeth facility in October 2004.
New Jersey Acting Governor Richard J. Codey said, “Our port is a major source of jobs and economic activity for New Jersey and for the region. By increasing our ability to move cargo by rail from the port to the marketplace in a timely, cost-efficient manner, we will continue to stimulate economic activity in the state while protecting and preserving the environment.”
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “These numbers clearly show that the first stages of our planned $600 million investment in port rail infrastructure has produced positive results. Our rail program eliminated thousands of regional truck trips last year, and also spurred substantial environmental benefits that will improve the quality of life for those who live or work in the region.
“While we are extremely pleased with the rapid growth we have seen in our port rail program, we expect to see more dramatic results in future years,” Chairman Coscia said. “Today, about 13 percent of our rail traffic is transported off the port by rail, and our goal is to see that number grow to as much as 30 percent in the future.”
Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr., said, “The new and expanded rail facilities are just one part of our extensive $1 billion port redevelopment plan that is now under way. Our plan consists of deepening harbor channels, new security measures to better protect the port’s property, upgrades to berths and wharfs, and critical work on roads leading to and from port terminals.”
Port Authority Port Commerce Director Rick Larrabee said, “Rail is a critical component of our port redevelopment program. Once completed, our goal is to have a rail system capable of handling up to 1.5 million cargo containers annually, thereby enhancing the overall efficiency of the port as well as reducing the number of trucks on our roadways. Rail is a more environmentally friendly alternative to transporting goods than trucking.”
The dramatic increase in ExpressRail activity came during a year when total container volumes at the port are up substantially. During the first nine months of 2004 – the most recent data available – the number of shipping containers handled at the port rose by 11 percent over the same period in 2003.
In addition to the New Jersey terminals, a new rail terminal is under construction at the New York Container Terminal on Staten Island. That facility will open in early 2006.
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 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 rail system; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the New York Container Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.
The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.