Container volume at the Port of New York and New Jersey in 2011 rose nearly 4 percent year-over-year, breaking the annual record set in 2007 before the start of the global economic downturn.
The port handled 5.5 million 20-foot equivalent units in 2011, while the port’s ExpressRail on-dock rail system also set a new record in 2011, handling 422,144 containers, or 12 percent more than in 2010. Loaded import container in 2011 rose 4 percent year-over-year to 1,562,413 TEUs, while loaded exports increased 6.6 percent to 918,316 TEUs in the same period.
The agency continues to expand the port’s capacity to handle the growth in cargo. In December, the authority’s board authorized a $39 million dollar investment to design and reconstruct a section of Corbin Street, along with the wharf and culvert at Berth 3 in Port Newark. This followed action to widen McLester Street in the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal, and to widen and realign Port Street and Brewster Road.
Work continues on the 50-foot harbor deepening project, which is expected be completed to the terminals in Port Newark, Elizabeth and Port Jersey by the end of 2012 and to New York Container Terminal by 2014. These projects are all designed to provide unimpeded ocean and landside access capacity to and from the port for the expected future annual cargo growth.
The Port Authority continues engineering and design work on the plan to raise the roadbed of the Bayonne Bridge by 61 feet to accommodate new, larger post-Panamax vessels traveling to and from port terminals on the western side of the harbor. The bridge’s low air draft cannot accommodate the largest of these ships, which are expected to serve the port when the Panama Canal widening is complete.
The agency has committed $1 billion to raise the roadway in stages while allowing vehicular traffic to continue. It expects to complete enough work on the project by 2016 to allow post-Panamax vessels to pass underneath the bridge, even though it won’t be completed for another two years after that.