CUTS IN NY PORT'S RAIL INCENTIVE PLAN SPELLS INCREASE IN COSTS FOR SHIPPERS

CUTS IN NY PORT'S RAIL INCENTIVE PLAN SPELLS INCREASE IN COSTS FOR SHIPPERS

Shippers will have to pay a little more to ship Midwest cargo through the Port of New York under a reduction in a rail incentive plan announced by the port Thursday.

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey will reduce to $40 from $50 its subsidy for export containers traveling more than 260 miles from the port. The import incentive will drop to $20 from $25.The authority said the incentive plan, along with improvements to the port's rail links and reductions in its tonnage assessment, has helped double rail shipments through the port since the program was introduced in 1988.

The port has always intended to phase out the program as the number of rail shipments increased.

New York is battling to challenge Baltimore and Hampton Roads as "load- centers" for the rich prize of Midwest cargo.

About 55,000 containers are expected to qualify under the $1.5 million incentive program in 1992.

The incentive program was introduced in conjunction with an agreement by the New York Shipping Association and the International Longshoremen's Association to reduce their tonnage assessment for cargo going more than 260 miles to or from the port.

The port authority estimates that tonnage assessment reductions have cut the cost of moving a container in that area by an average of $120.

"The container incentive program is part of a broader port authority initiative to improve the port's competitive position by reducing port costs and providing better intermodal service to the Midwest and Canada," said Lillian Liburdi, director of the bi-state agency's port department, in a written statement.

The port introduced daily double-stack train service to Chicago last year. In August, on-dock rail service for the double-stack train was introduced.