Looking to boost the city’s aging transportation system and logistics infrastructure, while aiding a range of business sectors, including apparel manufacturing, and reducing pollution, city officials unveiled Freight NYC on Monday.
The $100 million plan to overhaul the city’s aging freight distribution systems through strategic investments is aimed at modernizing maritime and rail assets, and creating new distribution facilities. The plan’s ultimate goals are also to create some 5,000 jobs for New Yorkers and a more sustainable and resilient supply chain network.
“Freight NYC is an investment in our city’s future,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “By modernizing our approach to shipping, we will create thousands of good-paying jobs while keeping our streets safer and cleaner.”
The New York City Economic Development Corp. (NYCEDC) said the city depends “on crucial but aging marine, rail and highway infrastructure and relies upon trucks to move nearly 90 percent of freight.” NYCEDC said with consumers increasingly demanding near-instant deliveries, local freight volumes will grow an estimated 68 percent by 2045, further choking traffic and impeding commerce. This challenge is particularly difficult in the “last mile” of distribution, it noted, with trucks bringing goods in from port facilities and central warehouses often located in neighboring states like New Jersey, to consumers over city streets and arteries.
The Freight NYC report that accompanied the announcement said many retailers operate on a “just-in-time” model that relies on consistent, frequent, and speedy delivery to replenish stock and keep inventory carrying costs low. In addition, most traditional brick-and-mortar retailers now dedicate floor space for their local distribution operations to meet customer needs.
“Freight NYC is one of the most ambitious re-imaginings of how 8.5 million New Yorkers–and the tens of millions more in our region–share, sell and buy the goods that keep our economy thriving,” deputy mayor for housing and economic development Alicia Glen said. “It will modernize our shipping sector, strengthen our economy and improve the air we breathe.”
NYCEDC president and CEO James Patchett said in addition to investing in existing maritime and rail assets, the city will work with private partners to build modern distribution, transload and warehousing facilities, and to promote the use of environmentally-friendly green trucks for last mile delivery. In total, Freight NYC will remove 15,000 vehicles’ worth of CO2 per year, ultimately helping to improve air quality and reduce asthma rates, officials said.
The Freight NYC plan leverages three key strategies to modernize and strengthen the city’s freight distribution industry for the 21st-century. This includes investing in multimodal infrastructure by working with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to invest in marine terminals and barging operations, and support the modernization and expansion of rail lines and freight facilities.
The second aspect is to creating new freight distribution hubs through public-private partnerships to meet increasing demand. Among the projects in this area is to build an Urban Distribution Center at the Brooklyn Army Terminal that is at least 500,000 square feet, estimated to create 500 jobs in Sunset Park.
City Hall has already made a $136 million investment in the Made in NY Campus in Sunset Park, which aims to create a 200,000-square-foot garment-manufacturing hub at Bush Terminal, with small spaces for companies working in pattern making, marking and grading, cutting and sewing, and sample making. Also in Brooklyn, the NYCEDC recently unveiled some 500,000 square feet of new industrial space for 1,000 new jobs through the transformation of the former Brooklyn Army Terminal into a modern manufacturing hub.
NYCEDC will also seek to develop a site near JFK Airport for an air cargo and distribution facility that will help meet the needs of current businesses and ensure the efficient flow of airport goods to maintain JFK’s position as a leading international freight destination.