The Port of New York and New Jersey, the nation’s third-busiest facility, exceeded its previous record for annual cargo volumes in 2015 by more than 10 percent, building on the jobs and economic activity the port generates for the bi-state region, the Port Authority said Monday.
During the year, the port handled 6.37 million 20-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, an increase of 10.4 percent over 2014 when the previous annual record was established. The record volumes allowed the port to maintain its position as the busiest on the East Coast with nearly 30 percent of total market share. Despite the increases in cargo, the Port of New York and New Jersey has experienced a 33 percent reduction in port emissions pollutants since 2006 due to environmental initiatives it has implemented.
ExpressRail, the Port Authority’s ship-to-rail system serving New York and New Jersey marine terminals, also set a new record, handling 522,244 containers, a 12.2 percent increase over 2014. The agency said its investment of more than $600 million in ExpressRail and its plans to build a new ExpressRail facility in Greenville Yard in Jersey City, N.J., have been critical to addressing the need for on-dock rail to improve port efficiency and competitiveness, and reduce emissions.
The PA noted that the two consecutive years of record port growth have resulted in substantial increases in associated jobs and economic activity. Currently, the port generates 336,600 full-time jobs, an increase of 13 percent over 2012, according to a recent study by the New York Shipping Association. The study also found that the port contributes to $21.2 billion in personal income and nearly $53.5 billion in business income.
On the labor front, 181 new longshoremen, 44 checkers and 62 mechanics were hired in 2015 to work at port facilities, supplementing the 568 dockworkers hired in 2014 for a total of 855 new dockworkers over the last two years.
On Jan. 29, more than 1,000 dockworkers, members of the International Longshoremen’s Association, walked off the job and temporarily shut down the major terminals at the New York/New Jersey port facilities, but returned to work nine hours later after an arbitrator ruled the work stoppage violated a no-strike provision in its bargaining contract, according to the New York Shipping Association.
The collective bargaining agreement between the ILA and NYSA on the East Coast doesn’t expire until September 2018. The reason for the walk-out remains unclear, but observers said it could have been a flexing of muscle ahead of contract talks.