Global’s Bayonne terminal expansion
Terminal operator aims to bring New York’s waterfront into 21st century.
By Chris Dupin
Global Container Terminals has announced plans for a multimillion-dollar expansion to its Global Terminal in Bayonne, N.J. that it said will make it one of the most technologically advanced container facilities in the country.
James J. Devine, president and chief executive officer of Global Container Terminals USA, said the expansion will add 70 acres to the terminal’s existing 99 acres, and increase annual capacity from about 400,000 to 1 million container lifts (1.7 million TEUs) when completed in 2014.
It will use 20 new rail-mounted gantry (RMGs) cranes, supplied by Konecranes that can stack containers five high and nine wide. Global said this will allow it to achieve greater throughput density per acre, while improving safety and security for the longshoremen who work at the facility as well as truckers moving containers to and from the terminal. The terminal will also have a section that continues to use rubber-tire gantries.
Devine said Global’s expansion is designed by the same team that planned the APMT terminal in Portsmouth, Va., which opened in 2007 and is widely considered the most advanced in the country. They are Richard J. Ceci, Guy Buzzoni, and Pete Giugliano, all of whom left APMT and now work for Global.
Instead of having longshoremen in the yard cranes, they will be operated by workers in a remote location using cameras. Neither longshoremen nor draymen will drive into the container stacks. Instead the rail mounted gantries bring or pickup containers at either end of the stacks. Containers will be shuttled between the dock and new container stacks using low-profile straddle carriers.
The 10 container stacks will be serviced by 20 new rail-mounted gantry cranes and each container stack will be capable of storing 1,665 TEUs, including plugs for refrigerated equipment.
The stacks will be oriented at a diagonal direction instead of perpendicular to the dock face. Devine said this will allow the rail-mounted cranes to have longer runs and operate at faster speeds. It will also make it easier for the trucks to back-up against the stacks.
Devine explained that high density is important for Global because of its relatively small footprint. Other terminals in the port have more land, he said. For example, Maher Terminals has 445 acres, APM Terminals has 350 acres and PNCT is expanding from 180 acres to 260 acres.
Last year, Global Terminal deployed Navis’ SPARCS N4 terminal operating system. It plans to extend the functionality of N4 to meet its needs as it simultaneously operates a system that uses both rail-mounted and rubber-tired gantry cranes. Global said the N4 system will allow for IT integration and cooperation between the two different environments.
The terminal will also expand its gatehouse from 16 to 29 lanes. Gate operations will use technology such as state-of-the-art line scan optical character recognition (OCR) and imaging technology to speed pre-approved trucks through the entry and exit gates, while providing maximum security and optimal routing inside the terminal.
Specially-designed drive-through checkpoints will capture high-resolution digital images of the trucks, chassis and containers as they pass through light-controlled portals at speeds of up to 20 mph. Global said the images “will allow for verification of the chassis and container numbers via OCR. In addition, the extraordinary resolution of the images will enable skilled labor located safely inside buildings to perform damage inspections.”
Global had about 1,800 feet of berthing space, and is completing a 900-foot extension so that it has two full berths. The terminal also has permits from the Army Corps of Engineers to build a third berth.
The company has spent about $100 million on lengthening the berth and expects to spend more than $200 million on the expansion of the stacks and gatehouse. The expansion announced today will only take up about 40 acres of the space being added to the terminal, leaving room for future growth.
Devine said the company is being careful not to over expand, adding that overcapacity is a problem for the longshore industry in the Port of New York and New Jersey.
Global is notable because it is the only major container terminal in the Port of New York and New Jersey other than the Red Hook Terminal in Brooklyn that is located east of the Bayonne Bridge, which currently limits the size of containerships that can call at the port complex’s other major terminals in Newark and Elizabeth, N.J., as well as Global’s sister terminal on Staten Island, N.Y. In addition, the channel to the terminal is being deepened to 50 feet.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is planning to raise the roadbed of the Bayonne Bridge from 151 feet above the Kill Van Kull at high tide to 215 feet, but construction on that project is not expected to begin until early 2013, pending federal and local environmental reviews.
Global Terminal’s customers currently include NYK, OOCL, Hapag Lloyd, Hamburg Süd, CSAV, Alianca, CCNI, Zim and Evergreen. Devine said the company has had some queries from other carriers that have expressed interest in using the terminal, in part, because of its location is unimpeded by the Bayonne Bridge.
Devine said the “development project, in addition to the many improvements currently underway, clearly demonstrates a long-term commitment from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to protect the port’s preeminent position as a critical U.S. gateway for global commerce.”
The terminal is one of four that was acquired in 2007 by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan from Orient Overseas (International) Ltd. In addition to New York Container Terminal on Staten Island and Global, the pension owns two terminals in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The International Longshoremen’s Association has expressed concern about how automation at the expanded terminal would affect its members, even holding a protest in January where officials complained they had not been informed about the expansion.
Since then, Devine said his company has had several meetings with the union during which it has explained the expansion plans and met with members of ILA Local 1, which represents checkers at the facility; Local 1588, which represents longshoremen; and Local 1804-1, which represents maintenance workers. A total of about 350 ILA members work at the terminal, and Devine said the expansion will create new jobs, though he did not give a specific estimate.
“The good part is that we are adding capacity, not replacing what is there today and we are adding another facet to the facility,” he said. “We can’t stay in the 20th century and we want to bring the ILA forward with us.”
He said the number of jobs added will depend on how well Global does in selling the terminal and adding business.
In addition to the expanded marine terminal, Global expects to be awarded the contract for the nearby Greenville Railyard, and Devine said the terminal “would be the domain of the ILA.”
There would also be increased opportunity for maintenance workers to work on the new automated rail-mounted gantry cranes that the facility will use, he said.
Devine said he spoke to ILA President Harold Daggett about the project. “I know he has concerns, legitimate concerns, about the loss of jobs, but we are working with him to better define what the real requirements are going to be,” he said. “We are looking forward to growing the workforce, not shrinking it.
“We are committed to providing the training and the work opportunity for the longshore community,” Devine added. “I’m always impressed by the skill of the longshore folks that I work with. I’ve been working with them for 35 years now and it is a great workforce that I enjoy working with on a daily basis.”
Speaking in mid-May when details of the expansion were released, Devine said he was optimistic that a contract between employers and the ILA to replace the one that expires in September will be reached without a strike or other work stoppage.
“There are some concerns that are going to have to be finessed, but I am cautiously optimistic that the people on both sides have their heads and hearts in the right place,” he said. “The rank-and-file want a contract and recognize that in the scheme of things they are well compensated and have very good benefits. They want to protect what they’ve got.
“From management’s standpoint, what they have to do is make sure we can fine-tune some of the work rules and some of the efficiencies that need to be brought to bear to accommodate the evolution in our industry.”
Devine said the expanded terminal would “come on line precisely in time to help meet the demands of larger vessels transiting the Suez Canal and new wider Panama Canal.”
He said terminals like Global need to be able to handle the greater volumes of containers that will be discharged from and loaded onto ships, ships that he said are likely to have even larger numbers of space-sharing partners, pointing to the decision by the New World and Global alliances to join together and operate the G6 alliance on Asia-Europe routes.