Port of New York and New Jersey Announced New Capacity Plans for Ultra-Large Container Ships, and Other Projects

The Port of New York-New Jersey marine terminal operators have plans to add new capacity for ultra-large container ships, among other projects. Once the new dredging is approved for those ultra-large container ships, the NY-NJ port would be one of the deepest seaports on the U.S. East Coast.

Ultra-large container ships is a name for container ships with a nominal container capacity of 10,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU), the Maritime-Executive defines.

However, some challenges lie ahead as landside capacity remains tight with shippers using terminal space with long-dwelling imports. Additionally, new yard space will mean reclaiming brownfield sites, which are part of the industrial legacy surrounding the port, the Journal of Commerce says.

The port plans to dredge down to 55 feet (from its current 50 feet depth), after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers receives authorization/approval from the U.S. Congress for dredging the port’s waterways, Port Director for the NY-NJ Port Authority, Bethann Rooney said at Baruch College’s World Trade Week NYC event. Rooney continued to say there is no timeline on when the dredging would be complete.

If the dredging is approved, it would make it possible for “super” post-Panamax ships of 20,000 TEUs to call New York-New Jersey.

Adding Berths and Cranes to Terminals

Besides adding additional dredging, the port’s marine terminal operators are also investing in new cranes and other projects that will be needed for larger ships, Rooney announced at the event.

Additionally, in March this year, Maher Terminals applied to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEOP) for a permit to install new cranes at Berth 82 on the terminal’s eastern edge along Newark Bay, as of now the permit is still pending – a NJDEOP spokesperson said. However, once approved, Maher plans to install three cranes that will be capable to handle ships up to 20,000 TEU, the JOC reported.

Furthermore, GCT Bayonne has plans to redevelop an existing 70-acre container storage yard, in addition to dredging that began in October last year for a new berth that will be able to handle 18,000-TEU ships, the JOC reported.

What Port Space is Looking Like

The port has been seeing some challenges in terms of container yard space, as imports have been dwelling about 10-14 days on average, port wide – double the typical dwell time seen last year. This impact creates a lot of valuable space at marine terminals, which results in berth delays for arriving delays, the JOC said.

In May, the Port put together a short-term solution for those long-dwelling imports. It created eight acres of additional space split between an off-dock container yard and chassis deport, made available for shippers in May that want to move containers out of the marine terminals, a statement from the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers produced and JOC reported.

Looking Ahead

The Port of New York-New Jersey is not the only one on the U.S. East Coast to also plan for the arrival of super-post-Panamax ships. The Port of Charleston is expected to finish dredging its inner harbor to 52 feet and their outer channel to 54 feet this year. Additionally, the Port of Virginia received a down payment from Congress on its dredging project which would bring its depth to 55 feet by 2024 – the JOC reports.

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