An agreement to proceed with a $1.6-billion project to dredge shipping channels in the New York region with federal officials and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was reached yesterday. Although the dredging signals a move to increase the competitiveness of the port, it may not translate to more trucking in the region, port officials say.
In conjunction with separate initiatives to build new rail facilities at the terminals and expanding ‘feeder’ barges, port officials looking for alternatives to trucks as a means of moving containers, according to Steve Coleman, senior information agent of the Port Authority of New York and Jew Jersey. The long-term plan to increase barge and rail capacities are intended to eliminate congestion at the port caused by trucks.
“Our port is very constricted by space,” Coleman told Fleet Owner. “We’re hoping to reduce the reliance on trucking— which is now 84%.”
Currently, trucks dominate the movement of containers from the port. However, lack of space to accommodate them is causing a bottleneck in freight movement.
“It doesn’t make sense for containers to sit at the port for a week waiting for truck to remove it,” Colman said.
The dredging project, which could span 14 years, will deepen the channels from 45 ft. to 50 ft., enabling ships that carry up to 7,000 containers each to use the port. This will more than double the channel’s current capacity for ships that carry up to 3,000 containers each.
The Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest port in the East Coast. In 2003 the number of containers handled at the port increased 8.5%, totaling 4,067,812 TEUs (20-ft. equivalent units).