NY/NJ Port says it's ready for summer cargo volumes
The Port of New York and New Jersey “has made significant improvements in its ability to move cargo on and off port terminals, with more improvements due to follow,” said the port last week.
The agency said “unprecedented collaborative efforts” have put the port “in a better position to handle both current volumes and any potential diversions from the West Coast.”
Last summer, there were long waits for truckers moving cargo in and out of terminals, and congested roadways resulting from a shortage of workers during summer holidays, a problem getting a new computer system to work properly at Maher Terminals, one of the port’s largest, and a shortage of chassis.
The Port Authority outlined improvements in several areas in an announcement last week:
- Labor. One hundred workers that were slated to retire in April will remain on the job through October, not take summer vacation, and "be on duty to handle the season’s busy pace." At the end of last month, 268 new workers have been certified and added to the labor registry. "Though their training on heavy equipment and vessel gangs continues, these individuals became immediately available as car drivers and baggage handlers," the agency explained. Twenty new mechanics have been registered, and more are expected soon. More than 75 longshoremen have been trained to drive straddle carriers in the past year, and more than 30 were cross-trained to operate straddle carriers at different terminals. It said employee vacations are being more actively managed and that "hiring priorities have changed to ensure that critical equipment vacancies are filled before other less-skilled positions."
- Terminals. New container handling equipment has been added at terminals, operating hours have been extended, and terminals have "increased third shifts to prepare their yards for the following day’s activities. Mobile Apps now allow truckers to check on terminals and container status (Import Container Availability, Booking Inquiry, Receiving Schedule and Empty Return/Dispatch) using their smart phones."
- Chassis: To increase chassis availability (and, therefore, capacity at the port), equipment providers have begun repositioning hundreds of units from other service areas. This action is part of an ongoing initiative to infuse nearly 700 new chassis. It said additional chassis yards have been opened to facilitate repairs, additional "start/stop" locations have been added and "considerable overtime hours were invested to repair units."
- Customs: Customs Exam Stations are employing more drivers, and Customs and Border Protection has assigned 100 new officers to local airports and seaports, and is taking steps to fill 100 vacancies by September.
"Despite all these positive changes, port drivers are urged to a) verify both chassis and container availability before dispatching to the port; b) ensure that all charges have been paid and releases are in place; and c) confirm export receiving and cut off times by checking the terminal websites," the organization said.
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