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Time to solve NY-NJ’s port crisis

14 Apr 2015 12:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

We are now at a juncture in the Port of New York and New Jersey that is changing the game more dramatically than the introduction of the Malcom McLean’s Ideal X. These terminals with their current footprints were state-of-the-art when built, but as the industry evolved, we now are past that stage.

 To blame the trucking community for the lines at the terminals is beyond the absurd. The volume that any other port in the world would do cartwheels to have and not service it, properly borders on sacrilege -- no, it is sacrilege.

 The trucking community has been part of a collaborative effort by all the players to make the port as successful as it has been. To issue a summons, to punish a truckman, who is probably an owner-operator, for trying to do their job and get a heads-up to deliver the cargo to the customer’s door, so that the consumers can enjoy what they have taken for granted as a staple is beyond stupid, and will only foster dysfunction in what to date has been a tested collaborative effort.

We have the terminals experiencing in some cases a 100 percent increase in volume and still maintaining the same 60-hour weekly gates. The funnel of the volume of cargo, or gate activity, cannot accommodate the customer demand.

The terminals in many cases operate very close to 168 hours per week in vessel unloading and loading activity. Yet with the increase in volume, they will not increase the gate hours.

We are operating in the most densely populated region and most congested state in the country, and we open the terminals in this highly congested area when traffic is at its peak. What is wrong with this picture? Would it not be more prudent, to amplify the normal daytime hours with another sequence, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. with the proper overlaps, and take advantage of our assets (our infrastructure) at their least congested times?

Most cargo, as much as 90 percent, is drop-and-pick and surely can be accommodated with these access times. As far as support for these times from truckers is concerned, nothing can exemplify that more perfectly than the most recent queue of between 300 and 400 trucks at midnight. The usual number of trucks per mile depending on configuration is about 120, so with the six mile lines you are at 700-plus trucks.

There is an expression, “Build It and They Will Come." For the truckers "Open It Up and They Will Come."

The other benefits of these suggestions and proper collaboration will very obviously help all the clean-air issues that are a constant issue by dissipating the intensity of the traffic.

Another benefit would be to attract more cargo, more ancillary activity, and more excellent-paying jobs to this port. We cannot stand still. This must be solved logically, not with truckmen and women being punished for trying to do their job, and make this what the Port of New York and New Jersey can and should be.

Tom Adamski, New Jersey Motor Truck Association – NJ Intermodal Motor Carrier Conference

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