The Port of New York and New Jersey has seen its East Coast container market share fall below one-third in recent years due to congestion concerns, cost, changing economic patterns and competition from other ports.
According to PIERS, in 2010 the Port handled 33.5 percent of all loaded import and export containers on the East Coast, while in 2015 the percentage had fallen to 30.1 percent.
Some port users, including importers and truckers have reported a weakening competitive edge at the port as the East Coast vies for business with the arrival of larger ships making fewer calls, and the expansion of the Panama Canal expected to increase volume. Donald A. Pisano, President of American Coffee Corp. commented, “It has been getting much more costly to do business in this port with regularly significant congestion at the marine terminals. Truckers need to get paid for their time waiting.”
John Nardi, President of the New York Shipping Association, and Vice Chairman of the port’s Council on Port Performance wrote in an email, “Cost-wise NY-NJ is a high-cost region as far as real estate, labor, tolls, oversight … You name it, it cost more here. This is why we need to continue to improve out intermodal connections and overall productivity to slow the shift in market share.”
In other news, analysis at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach shows that service and turn times suffer at night, adding more voice to the call for reforming the extended-gate program aimed at reducing congestion.
Sal Manzo of Infomagnus reports that truck turn times are slightly higher than 60 minutes in the early morning and early afternoon, while truck turn times average around 90 minutes during the night shift, even as the volume of trucks during the daytime traffic is close to twice as much as the night gates of 6pm to 3am.
Weston Labar, Executive Director of the Harbor Trucking Association, suspects that the service may be deteriorating at night due to terminal operators hiring fewer workers for the second shift, or because they move some workers from servicing gates to working the vessels. Terminals at night will generally use more part-time workers (known as casuals), who are not as experienced as the registered longshoremen that predominate the day shifts.