Photo: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Photo: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Cargo volumes at the Port of New York and New Jersey hit a record pace during the first six months of 2015, the Port Authority announced.

Cargo volumes were 13.4% higher than for the same period in 2014, which was also a record year for the major Northeast ports.

The port handled 3,093,789 TEU’s compared to 2,727,554 in 2014. The increase in volume was credited to a stronger economy and uncertainty at the traditionally higher-volume West Coast ports.

“We’re reaping the benefits of a strong regional economy and labor uncertainty on the West Coast,” said Richard Larrabee, Port Commerce director.  “Our challenge now is to find ways to more efficiently handle the record volumes we have seen all year, and we’ve been working collaboratively with all port stakeholders to meet this goal.”

Increased cargo at the ports in recent years led to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey investing $600 million into ExpressRail, a system of cargo transport that is ship-to-rail as opposed to via trucks. ExpressRail handled 257,103 containers in the first half of 2015, up 15.1% from 2014.

To further the port’s ability to handle increasing cargo volumes, the Port Authority formed a Port Performance Task Force in December 2013 to explore improvements to efficiency and reliability at the port. The task force made recommendations to reduce bottlenecks like truck congestion, which plagues the large ports.

As part of the recommendations, the Port Authority released a guide, called the Trucker’s Resource Guidebook, which contains information on navigating the ports six terminals, important phone numbers, frequently asked questions and a list of do’s and don’t’s.

The guide can be found here.