With cargo volumes rising to record levels, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is outlining plans to ensure that its shipping facilities will be able to handle the traffic securely, efficiently and with minimal environmental effects over the next 30 years.
The bi-state agency unveiled its Port Master Plan 2050 on July 9 after a two-and-half year review. An earlier planning effort led to the raising of the Bayonne Bridge to accommodate bigger ships – a project that was completed earlier this year – and a variety of improvements to marine terminals and related infrastructure.
“This new master plan provides a vision that we believe will drive future cargo growth and the jobs and economic benefits it provides for the region,” Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said in a statement. “It also ensures sustainability and resiliency as key goals and commits the Port to enduring partnerships with our host communities.”
The Port Authority operates marine facilities in Newark, Elizabeth, Jersey City and Bayonne in New Jersey, and Staten Island and Brooklyn in New York. It cited statistics from the New York Shipping Association showing that port supports 400,000 full-time jobs in the region and generates nearly $26 billion in personal income and almost $65 billion in business income.
The agency said the Port of New York and New Jersey is now the second-busiest in the country, after overtaking Port of Long Beach in California. The Port of Los Angeles holds the top spot.
During the first 15 years covered by the plan, the agency intends to begin new road projects, enhance data collection technology and improve the port’s power and communications networks, among other projects. The second phase will include upgrades to intermodal rail operations and the deployment of new technologies, including semi-automated guided vehicles and electric vehicles. In addition, an auto precinct could be located at Port Newark North along with consolidation of bulk leaseholds into one area of Port Newark South.
“Our predecessors had the foresight to clearly understand the value of the port to regional jobs and economic activity and made substantial investments that today are paying huge dividends,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said in a statement. “This plan will continue the momentum we have built and drive this port to new heights that two decades ago would have seemed impossible to achieve.”