Port of Albany officials said the $3.3 million in new funds Governor George Pataki has given to the Port to help underwrite the start-up costs of its new barge container service will take the transportation facility to “heights never before imagined.”
NYS Department of Transportation Commissioner John Boardman, Port Authority of New York/New Jersey Executive Director
Joe Seymour and Albany Mayor Gerald D. Jennings joined the Governor at the Port today. The funding enables the Port of Albany to be a full partner in the Inland Distribution Network, a system of satellite facilities for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Albany Mayor Gerald D. Jennings gave great praise to the governor for his help on this project, and also highlighted the dedication of local people involved with the Port that helped Albany become a key inland site for the distribution network. “Consistent with Governor Pataki’s commitment to strengthening the upstate economy, we are about to witness the transformation of our Port into a bustling first-class container facility, which is very good news for the Port and its hardworking and talented labor force.”
“Thanks to the Governor’s recognition of the great potential which lies within the wharves and warehouses of the Port, the future of the Port of Albany is brighter than ever, with new jobs and millions of dollars in new economic activity on the horizon,” he said.
Robert F. Cross, Chairman of the Albany Port District Commission, was also upbeat about the impact the subsidy funding will have on the Port. He said, “Because of Governor Pataki’s steadfast commitment, and the vision and determination of Mayor Jennings, a new and exciting day has dawned for the Port of Albany. We now are on the verge of taking our Port to heights never before imagined, dramatically expanding business, and creating new jobs for residents in the Capital District and beyond. In addition, this new service will result in reduced highway congestion and improved air quality in our state.”
Under the program that will be launched by the new funding, containers from the terminals in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will be shipped to inland locations like Albany directly by barge or rail. This will alleviate congestion at downstate container terminals and on regional downstate roadways. The Port of Albany has been working on its infrastructure in the past several years that will allow those barges from New York and New Jersey to load and unload their containers.
Frank W. Keane, General Manager of the Port, said the $3.3 million arranged by the Governor will help subsidize the barge service operation for two years. The service is expected to generate approximately $1.3 million for the same two-year period.
In anticipation of this partnership, the Port of Albany invested federal, state and its own funds to purchase a new $2.4 million state-of-the-art crane that can expedite the handling of container barges.
Twice weekly service is scheduled to commence during the first quarter of 2003. At the end of the two-year period, some 17,400 containers are expected to be handled.