NYC to Move Garbage Via Barge and Rail

New York City’s Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has detailed a 20-year, $340-million plan to ship most of the city’s residential garbage by barge and rails, rather than trucks, according to The New York Times.

The plan is expected to reduce congestion and pollution concerns in residential areas located near transfer stations.

New York State Motor Transport Assn. (NYSMTA) president William Joyce told Fleet Owner that the city’s push to move out of the trucking system doesn’t represent an appreciable concern to the industry. The key is that barges and rails don’t have the same flexibility as a truck-based infrastructure.

“I would think the plan to put the garbage on rails and barges means that they’re going to have a limited number of facilities they could take this to. With a truck it’s fairly easy to find any facility to reroute to,” Joyce said.

“You still have to bring it into the central collection points for the pickup. Haulers will adapt— long term I don’t think they would totally be able to get rid of the trucks,” he explained.

The plan would renovate four marine transfer stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens by the end of 2007. From these waypoints, rail and maritime carriers would transport the waste outside the state, replacing the current truck-based export system.

Mayor Bloomberg’s office said this system will reduce the number of private hauler trips by almost 200,000 per year and eliminate three million truck miles each year.

Besides the neighborhood complaints about the congestion and pollution that result from a truck-based infrastructure, local haulers have also been plagued by a hodgepodge of freight volume and weight management challenges. “For the trucker sometimes it can be problematic because they’re usually hauling by cubic yardage, but it could be a vastly different weight,” Joyce said.

The barge and rail system could also face challenges on profitability. “We’d like to take a free market approach. If rails and barges can be supported in the free market, then that’s fine,” he said, explaining he wouldn’t want to see another “Amtrak.”

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