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Home Port News The raised Bayonne Bridge’s inaugural year

The raised Bayonne Bridge’s inaugural year

Project to raise the bridge’s navigational clearance to 215 feet has resulted in larger ships, record cargo volume and economic activity in Port of NY/NJ

Port reports record growth in first quarter of 2018, with import containers filled with commodities up by more than 10 percent, surpassing U.S. average of 7.2 percent, sparked by a rise in U.S. trade volume for the past 16 months

Leading import commodities up 11.4 percent, including furniture, appliances and beverages; strong growth reported in exports of appliances and vehicle parts

A year after the completion of a project to raise the Bayonne Bridge’s navigational clearance to 215 feet, the Port of New York and New Jersey is reaping major benefits from the project – record cargo volumes that exceed those in other U.S. ports, a dramatic increase in the size of ships calling on the port and additional new cargo services making the New York/New Jersey port their first stop on the East Coast.

Since last June 8, 107 vessels in excess of 9,500 TEUs (20-foot-long cargo containers, the shipping industry’s standardized measurement) have called on port terminals in Newark, Elizabeth and Bayonne, N.J. and in Staten Island that previously were inaccessible to ships of that size. The bridge raising now provides the ability for ships that can carry up to18,000 20-foot-long cargo containers to navigate under it. Currently, the port has seen vessels as large as 14,414 TEUs, the largest now calling on any East Coast ports.

The bridge raising also has yielded the following positive results:

  • An increase in cargo volumes in the port during the first quarter of 2018, up 6.4 percent. The port also has set new monthly records every month for the past nine consecutive months.
  • The volume of import cargo containers filled with commodities increased by 10.1 percent during the first four months of 2018, exceeding the U.S. average (7.2 percent) and the East Coast average (6.4 percent) for that four-month period.
  • An 11.4 percent increase in the top 20 import commodities during the first four months of 2018 spurred by increases in imported furniture (up 15.1 percent), appliances (up 12.1 percent), beverages (up 9.7 percent) and clothing (up 9.9 percent).
  • A dramatic increase in the size of environmentally friendly vessels servicing the port, which allows more cargo to come on fewer vessels. Currently, 6.7 percent of the vessels serving the port are 13,000 TEUs or larger. Prior to the bridge raising, none of these ships called on port terminals.
  • Three new services that previously didn’t call on Port of New York and New Jersey terminals, including one using 14,000 TEU vessels.

“We knew this important infrastructure project would yield tangible results as soon as it was completed, and we’ve seen those predictions realized in the first year,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “The port already supports 400,000 jobs and $25.7 billion in personal income wages and we expect those numbers to grow as bigger ships and more cargo come here thanks to the benefits from this project.”

“The raising of the Bayonne Bridge was an impressive engineering achievement that showcased the Port Authority’s ability to build great, challenging projects,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “It cemented our port as the most attractive East Coast option for international shippers, and based on early returns, shippers agree and are bringing their cargo here in record volumes.”

“When the Bayonne Bridge project was completed a year ago, we said it would be a game changer, and it’s already had a major impact on our business here,” said Port Authority Port Director Molly Campbell. “But with the successes we’ve seen, including record cargo and additional new services, come the challenges of moving that cargo from the docks to the consumer. Our job is to continue to enhance the ability of shippers to move cargo quickly and efficiently from the port to its final destination.”

Since the bridge was raised, the port’s major terminal operators are making significant investments to accommodate the larger ships that will call on their facilities.

  • APM Terminal is investing in a new truck gate complex, 4 new cranes that will allow the terminal to serve the larger ships, and a new truck appointment system will be implemented when the gate complex is complete.
  • Port Newark Container Terminal is expanding truck lanes as part of its new gate complex; developing an additional 30 acres of terminal space, adding an additional 20 straddle carriers and four Super Post Panamax cranes that will allow the terminal to serve the larger ships. A truck appointment system will be implemented when the gate complex is complete.
  • Maher Terminal is elevating the height of four ship to shore cranes to accommodate larger vessels, investing in additional straddle carriers and deepening an additional berth to 50 feet.
  • GCT Bayonne is continuing to build the new ExpressRail Port Jersey facility, which will increase the port’s ability to handle up to 1.5 million cargo container lifts a year.

Construction of the Bayonne Bridge project began in 2013, after the project received fast track environmental review status and a federal permit from the U.S. Coast Guard. An elevated archway through the existing arch bridge and over the existing roadway was completed in February 2017, and the old roadway was removed to create the higher navigational clearance.

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