The JOURNAL of COMMERCE ONLINE
BAYONNE, N.J. - Businesses that are not port-related should be moved away from piers in the Port of New York and New Jersey to make room for container handling, a container terminal executive said Wednesday.
"The space should be utilized by port-related businesses," said Donald P. Hamm, president and chief executive of Port Newark Container Terminal. Hamm spoke at the annual Port Industry Day conference of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Hamm was one of a panel of 10 industry executives who discussed the recommendations of the Waterfront Coalition in a report entitled, "The National Marine Container Transportation Industry: A Call to Action."
Although Hamm agreed with most of the report's recommendations, he made several of his own. He said priority should be given to building multi-story parking garages for inbound and outbound auto shipments, because the horizontal parking lots now required for that trade take up valuable space around the port.
He also made it clear that private marine terminals should not be expected to implement the report's recommendation for chassis pools.
Another panelist criticized the nation's terminal companies for not communicating better with their customers. Marc Lebowitz, executive vice president of the East Coast Warehouse and Distribution Corp. of Elizabeth and Jersey City, said he was disappointed that terminal companies had cut free time for containers on their piers by 20 percent and hiked demurrage charges without consulting with their shipper customers.
Lebowitz called for greater collaboration among the stakeholders in the marine transport system before they try to make the kind of wholesale changes recommended by the Waterfront Coalition.
Anne Canby, president of the surface transportation Policy Project, also called for greater collaboration so that different parts of the industry could focus national attention on the critical marine transport infrastructure needs detailed in the report.
"There is no national freight transportation policy, and we're not likely to have any unless we come together to speak with a single strong voice," she said. "It will take leadership, and the freight community has a huge opportunity to educate and inform state and national leadership."