The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will offer incentives to boost automobile and truck shipments at its docks.
The agency’s commissioners on Wednesday approved a five-year program to nearly halve the wharfage fee on additional vehicles moving through the port for manufacturers who exceed targeted volumes.
Dennis Lombardi, the deputy director of the Port Commerce Department, said that automobile volumes at the port dropped from a high of more than 1 million in 2008 to about 620,000 in 2009, but have slowly rebounded, reaching about 745,000 in 2013. The port has three terminals where automobiles are currently imported: the BMW facility in Port Jersey, and the Toyota and FAPS Inc. in Port Newark.
With a lot of capacity for additional growth, the port faces competition from other ports in the Northeast -- especially Philadelphia and Baltimore, but also Boston and Davisville, R.I.
The port said it believes it will see an organic growth in automobile volumes in 2014 of 2.75 percent, and in subsequent years of 1 percent. If an automobile manufacturer increases the volume of automobiles it ships through the port by more than 3 percent this year, it would see the wharfage it pays on the additional automobiles cut from about $12 to $6 dollars, which is similar to the wharfage in some competing ports.
Then, in subsequent years, if manufacturers increase volumes more than 1 percent, they would see the wharfage on those additional cars halved. A new base is set each year.
Lombardi said the incentive would be paid to the automobile manufacturer, not the shipping company docking ships in the port.
“Our port is the nation’s leader for new vehicles from all over the world, and we want to stay on top,” said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. “Our incentive program will seek to attract new auto manufacturers here and to retain existing ones to ensure the long-term success of the port’s valuable auto business.”