Cargo volume set a record in the first half of the year in the Port of New York and New Jersey, and it’s on pace for the highest annual volume for the year.
The Port Authority said cargo volume for the first six months was 4.4% higher than the same period in 2015, when the previous record of 3.09 million TEUs, or 20-foot equivalent units, was established.
Between January and June this year, the port handled 3.23 million TEUs compared to 3.04 million TEUs handled in 2016. The record volume has allowed the port to maintain its position as the busiest on the East Coast.
In June alone, the port handled 584,606 TEUs, the best June on record and the second highest monthly volume ever recorded in the Port of New York and New Jersey.
[Read more about cargo imports: Cargo Imports Could Hit New Record as Merchants Stock Up]
Cargo handled by ExpressRail, the Port Authority’s ship-to-rail system serving New York and New Jersey marine terminals, also continued to increase. During the first six months of 2017, ExpressRail handled 273,991 lifts, up 2.8% from the previous record in 2016, when 266,624 lifts were handled. In June alone, ExpressRail handled 50,693 lifts, the first time the rail system handled more than 50,000 lifts in a month.
The agency’s investment of more than $600 million in ExpressRail, including the completion of ExpressRail Port Jersey now under construction, was made possible by the Cargo Facility Charge and has been critical in addressing the need for on-dock rail to improve port efficiency, competitiveness and reduce emissions, the Port Authority said. Once ExpressRail Port Jersey opens early next year, it will give the port the capacity to handle 1.5 million container lifts a year and eliminate 2.25 million annual truck trips from local highways.
“This summer’s completion of navigational clearance on the $1.6 billion Bayonne Bridge project was a major game changer for this port and we believe will be a catalyst for continued port growth as the world’s biggest, modern, fuel efficient vessels can now call on our terminals,” Port department director Molly Campbell said. “Moving forward, we will continue to work with all our stakeholders to further enhance our ability to handle these record levels of cargo to maintain our designation as the East Coast’s premier port.”
Major ocean freight carriers have put fleets of megaships on the water in recent years that have challenged port logistics. Ports along the East Coast have been forced to expand births and dredge a harbors to accommodate them.
In addition, the opening of the new Panama Canal last year that allows these ships to bypass West Coast ports en route from Asia has increased East and Gulf Coast cargo traffic.
In addition to cargo containers, the port also reported a 7.7% increase in vehicles handled by auto processors serving the port–from 245,765 units handled in 2016 to 264,766 units handled in 2017.
The Port of New York and New Jersey supports 336,600 full-time jobs in the region, $21.2 billion in personal income, $53.5 billion in business income, and $7.1 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues.