The Port Authority unveiled a Web site that provides real-time information on ship arrivals at the Port of New York
and New Jersey, as well as the status of cargo and activity at terminal gates.
Under a $1.9 million contract with the Port Authority, the new system known as Freight Information Real-time System for Transport or FIRST is being developed by Americas Systems Inc. (ASI) of Murray Hill, N.J. Representatives of the shipping industry and other public and private sector organizations have joined in designing the demonstration project.
Information on the site www.firstnynj.com has been drawn from various sources to provide ocean carriers, exporters, importers, foreign freight forwarders, customs brokers, terminal operators and rail and truck providers with "one-stop shopping" for data they need to make decisions about cargo pickup and delivery.
For example, a trucking company can use the system to find out the status of a cargo container waiting to be picked up at the port. By verifying first that the container is more at the terminal and has been released for pickup, the trucker can avoid multiple telephone calls to the terminal and prevent unnecessary trips to the port.
Port Authority Executive
Director Neil D. Levin said, "I want the Port Authority to be a leader in using technology to benefit our customers and the region we serve. Our port is a driving force for the region's economy, generating $20 billion a year in economic activity. With cargo growth projected to be about 4 percent a year in the New York-New Jersey port
, this new Web site will help improve efficiency, and help ensure that the region's economy continues to prosper."
Port Commerce Director Richard M. Larrabee said, "We listened to our port customers and developed a Web based system that allows them to get a variety of information from one source. When fully developed, this new site will help us provide first-class customer service to all of our port tenants from the trucking companies, to the terminal operators, to the ocean carriers. It will help us continue the safe, efficient and seamless flow of port cargo throughout the region into the 21st Century."
Currently, seven members of the port community are providing data to the FIRST Web site Atlantic Container Line, American Stevedoring Inc., Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk-Sealand Terminal, NYK Line, Port
Newark Container Terminal and Zim-Israeli American Line. Additional information will be available
as other terminals and carriers come on line.
"FIRST will only be as valuable as the information available on it," Mr. Larrabee said. "We hope
that other industry sources will soon see the value of making their more information available to all of their customers through this easy-to-use Web portal."
In the near future, the Web site will provide additional information to port customers, such as real-time traffic information on local and regional roadways, live camera views of seaport and terminal roadways and entry points, real-time vessel arrival and berth availability, and a trucker appointment system.