BY GARY FRANTZ, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
U.S. PORTS ARE ON A HOT STREAK.
Backed by a burgeoning and resilient U.S. economy, many U.S. ports processed record
or near-record freight volumes through the first part of 2019, building on a 2018 that set
a high-water mark for import and export ocean cargo.
“We’re actually very encouraged,” says Beth Rooney, deputy director, port department,
for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. “We’re experiencing consistently strong
volumes. Year-to-date container volume is up 7 percent over 2018, and that was a record
year as well,” she noted, adding that the port continues to roll out strategic expansion
projects. It most recently cut the ribbon on the new ExpressRail Port Jersey facility, completing a major upgrade of the port’s intermodal rail network.
“That was the very last piece of the puzzle the port authority envisioned 20 years ago,”
she says, referring to a program that also included such initiatives as deepening channels
to 50 feet, adding more cranes to service the new megaships, raising the Bayonne Bridge,
and building out four on-dock rail facilities. The port last year also launched its Port
Community Systems portal, a “one-stop” Web portal providing visibility and transparency to port operations, including containers coming off the ship, drayage within the yard,
containers’ location in the yard, and when trucks enter or exit the port’s gate.
The visibility portal is supported by the Port Truck Pass system, launched in 2016,
Like the proverbial
rising tide, the
has lifted the
fortunes of many
U.S. ports. But how
long can the good
U.S. ports underpin hot
economy with record
volumes, rapid growth