Use of Barges, Trains to Move Cargo Will Reduce Truck Traffic, Improve the Environment
The Port Authority launched a unique barge and rail cargo distribution network that will provide jobs and economic activity for the region, speed the flow of goods to consumer markets in the region and help reduce highway truck traffic. The Port of Albany will become the first Northeast port to participate in the program.
The Port Inland Distribution Network will move containerized cargo by barge or rail between marine terminal facilities in the New York-New Jersey area and regional terminals in New York, New Jersey and three other Northeast states. Local trucking will then be used to bring the cargo from the regional port facility to its ultimate customer location.
New York Governor George E. Pataki said, "This new cargo distribution network will provide major benefits for both Upstate and metropolitan New York, including more port-related jobs, less traffic on congested highways and improved air quality. This project will create new jobs, help revitalize the Port of Albany and provide tremendous benefits for New York's consumers."
New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey said, "When this network is in full operation, it is anticipated to generate approximately $125 million throughout the New Jersey and New York region from new distribution warehousing activities. In addition, 257 dockworker jobs will be created in New Jersey to handle additional cargo containers created by the new network. We look forward to implementing the next phase of this program in South Jersey to boost economic development and job opportunities in that region."
Port Authority Chairman Jack G. Sinagra said, "Our Board believes strongly in this project, and has committed up to $6 million in start-up costs to ensure its success. It will provide significant relief for the region's highways and will help improve the environment by eliminating large amounts of truck diesel emissions." Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, "This new network will further entice international shippers to call on the Port of New York and New Jersey. It will provide their goods with a quick, cost-efficient conduit to the Port of Albany and other inland locations."
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, "This program is a win-win for the Port of New York and New Jersey and its regional port partners. It will efficiently handle future cargo growth and ensure the Port of New York and New Jersey remains the leading East Coast destination for international shippers. At the same time, the program will increase business at regional ports and strengthen the economies of communities just beyond the New York metropolitan area."
The Port Inland Distribution Network will be a new service for containerized cargo such as furniture, clothing and beverages that is now being transported by truck. The regional ports will contract with private barge operators, which will charge shippers for the service. The Port Authority will provide financial support to make the service even more appealing to shippers.
One of the primary goals of the cargo distribution network is to reduce the heavy reliance of port customers on trucks to move cargo. Currently, about 84 percent of the containers that
come in to or go out of the Port are transported by truck. When all of the ports are on line by 2020, the percentage of maritime containers moved by truck could be reduced to 57 percent. By then, more than 1,000 truck trips a day on New York State roadways would be eliminated due to the Port Inland Distribution Network.
In September, the Port Authority Board approved up to $6 million to assist with start up costs for the Port Inland Distribution Network. In addition to Albany, the Port Authority is in negotiations with port operators in Davisville, R.I.; Bridgeport and New Haven, Conn.; Camden and Salem, N.J.; and Wilmington, Delaware.