Container terminals in the Port of New York and New Jersey will be closed Friday because of a blizzard that’s forecast to hit the region with six to nine inches of snow and winds of up to 35 miles per hour.
The decision to shut the terminals was made during a conference call that the port authority hosted with representatives of terminal operators and drayage companies.
Terminals announced they would shut down at 4 or 5 p.m. on Thursday and remain closed to truck traffic until Monday morning.
Terminals agreed to grant truckers additional free time to remove containers before demurrrage charges are assessed. Free time that was scheduled to expire Friday will be extended through Monday, according to the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers.
Truck traffic at port terminals was heavy on Thursday following the New Year’s Day holiday, as customers rushed to pick up import boxes and deliver export shipments in advance of the storm and weekend.
Port Newark Container Terminal had announced plans to keep truck gates open till 8 p.m. for single moves and 7:30 p.m. for double in-out moves on Thursday and Friday. However, PNCT said Thursday afternoon it would join other terminals in closing on Friday.
Truck traffic promises to be heavy when terminal gates reopen at 6 a.m. Monday. However, officials said snow removal in and around terminals would have resulted in unsafe conditions and low productivity if terminals had stayed open Friday.
Weather forecasters said a major snowstorm would affect a region stretching from the Midwest to the central Applachians and the Northeast. Forecasts said the New York metropolitan area is expected to be hit with six to nine inches of snow and high winds that could produce whiteout conditions.