The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey plans to complete work next spring on a strategic plan that will guide its business development and billions of dollars in capital investment during the next 20 years.
Rick Larrabee, director of the agency’s port commerce department, discussed the strategic planning process at the annual Port Industry Day.
He said the port has accomplished most of what it set out to do with its last major strategic plan a decade ago. The earlier plan “provided a roadmap for us over the last 10 years.”
Deepening of port channels to 50 feet is set for completion in 2014, and major road, rail and terminal projects have been completed. The port authority also has approved the raising of the Bayonne Bridge to accommodate larger ships.
Larrabee said the harbor-deepening project, which the port launched in the early 1990s, shows how long such projects can take. “We have to think about … about 20 or 30 years,” he said.
A report earlier this year said the port authority had $27 billion in funding capacity for capital improvements to its seaport, airport, real estate and other operations during the next decade but needs an additional $11.4 billion to finance other essential projects.
“What that means is we’re going to have to find a way to prioritize scarce resources,” he said.
Funding capital projects is a challenge, especially in an industry where most ocean carriers and many other companies aren’t profitable, Larrabee said.
Work on the new strategic plan includes planning for various scenarios, an assessment of the port’s current business and future opportunities, and finding ways to work with local communities, governmental agencies and federal policy.
Larrabee said the port authority would seek viewpoints of port businesses and others. “This is going to be a very inclusive process,” he said.