New York–New Jersey Container Terminal Implements New Appointment System to Address Major Delays

Heavy volume from larger vessels calling the Port of New York and New Jersey combined with the of the port’s limited infrastructure to support those ships is causing significant delays in the area for truckers. Global Terminal & Container (GTC) Bayonne in New Jersey is the only major New York-New Jersey container terminal available to large ships that are too tall to pass under the 151-foot clearance limit of the Bayonne Bridge. As a result of limited options for serving the largest ships, turn times for truckers at the East Coast’s busiest port are reaching delays up to eight hours. Putting additional pressure on traffic in the area is a project to renovate the exit to the terminal from the New Jersey Turnpike and the trucks sharing lanes with New York City commuters through the Holland Tunnel.

Truckers are barely able to get one turn through the terminal, and most of them are accustomed to making three passes a day there. As a short-term solution to the congestion, GTC Bayonne is extending weekday and Saturday hours through the end of December. To further encourage truckers to benefit from lighter weekend traffic, the terminal plans to open its gates on Sundays as well. However this solution may allow for three completed turns by truckers on the weekends, but they face demurrage fees for late pickup for choosing to avoid picking up containers on weekdays.

Raising more concerns for truckers are GCT Bayonne plans to launch an appointment system for trucks at terminals. Many of them believe this appointment system will be ineffective until turn times are reduced. Regardless of apprehension from the truckers, the Port of NY/NJ will implement the first appointment system at its terminals in January 2016. The system is designed to meter the flow of trucks into and throughout the terminal and expects to shorten turn times, maximizing productivity by keeping all cranes busy. As the terminal gains the capacity to prepare a container for pick-up for a driver, regulating the flow of trucks should improve.

With no signs of the delays letting up, the port is looking at expansion projects as well. GCT Bayonne unveiled a plan to add 70 acres to the terminal’s current 110 acres to maximize productivity, featuring improvements with high-speed, rail-mounted stacking cranes. To allow for ships taller than 151 feet to port at other terminals in New Jersey or on Staten Island, the Bayonne Bridge vertical clearance limits needs to increase. With an expected cost of $1.3 billion to raise the bridge’s clearance to 215 feet, the expansion of bridge will not begin until late 2017. Until the port makes some changes to its infrastructure, the congestion is only going to get worse as more mega container ships continue to arrive.

Is your supply chain having issues from the delays at the Port of New York–New Jersey? Please contact OCEANAIR today for a solution at (781) 286-2700.