Port of New York and New Jersey Provides Lehigh Valley Update

By Colin McEvoy on August 23, 2019

More than 100 people attended a briefing by the Port of New York and New Jersey at Wind Creek Bethlehem on Aug. 23.

Representatives from the Port of New York and New Jersey and its marine terminal operators visited the Lehigh Valley this week to provide an overview of the largest port on the East Coast, and the second-largest in the United States.

More than 100 people attended the briefing at Wind Creek Bethlehem on Thursday, Aug. 22, where officials provided an overview of the port and discussed cargo activity, port capabilities, and plans for the future.

“We’re working all the time to interact with our customer base to share information, promote the port, and to get people to continue to ship their freight through our facilities,” said Nicholas Raspanti, maritime cargo sales manager with the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The Port of New York and New Jersey includes 3,000 acres of marine terminals, and is located within 250 miles of one-third of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to Raspanti.

Encompassing the region within approximately a 25-mile radius of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in the New York-Newark metropolitan area, the port is located about 85 miles east of the Lehigh Valley.

The port can reach about 13 million people in one hour, 27 million in two hours, 44 million in four hours, and a total of 125 million within 36 hours, Raspanti said.

“Our best appeal is our location,” Raspanti said. “If you look at some of our competitor ports, what we hit in one hour they just about hit in four hours.”

The Port of New York and New Jersey and has the capacity to handle very large container ships of up to 18,000 TEU, or twenty-foot equivalent units. The dimensions of one TEU is equal to that of a shipping container 20-feet long and 8-feet tall.

In terms of container throughput, a total of 7.2 million TEUs were imported at the port in 2018, according to Raspanti, a 7% increase from the 6.7 million TEUs in 2017.

The briefing included a rundown of recent capital investments at the port, including a $2.1 billion project to dredge the port and certify its 50-foot depth, allowing it to accommodate larger vessels deployed from ocean carriers.

Another major project was the raising of the Bayonne Bridge, a $1.7 billion project that lasted six years and elevated the deck of the bridge from 151 feet to 215 feet so larger container ships could fit underneath it.

“Since both of those projects were completed, we’ve continued to see the incremental growth of vessel sizes that continue to call our port,” Raspanti said.

The Lehigh Valley briefing included presentations by marine terminal operators who operate at the port, including Maher Terminals, Global Container Terminals (GCT) USA, APM Terminals, and Port Newark Container Terminal.

Maher Terminals is the largest terminal in the port, operating in about 600 acres with a capacity of 3.5 million TEUs per year. In operation for more than 70 years, it has more than 7,000 trucks moving in and out of its facilities on any given day, according to Frank Capo, Senior Vice President Commercial with Maher Terminals.

GCT USA operates two terminals in the port, with one each in New York and Bayonne, the latter of which was recently expanded, according to Dan Mulligan, Director of Sales and Marketing GCT.

The Port Authority and LVEDC have held discussions in the past about the concept of a new rail intermodal service between the port and the city of Bethlehem, which would provide a critical link in the Lehigh Valley’s supply chains and provide a significant economic development tool to enhance the region’s competitiveness.

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