At its Sept. 22 board meeting, the commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey approved a $3.4 million contract with infrastructure consultant Hatch Associates to develop a long-range master plan. It is the first comprehensive master plan ever undertaken by the Port Authority.
As explained by the Port Authority earlier this year, the study’s aim will be to solicit ideas and opinions from a variety of stakeholders including federal, state and local government agencies, neighboring communities, tenants, industry representatives, elected officials, labor organizations and the public. This collaborative approach reflects changing dynamics and needs of the port, including notable increases in cargo volume.
“We must take a holistic look at the entire port operation and develop an optimum plan that will allow us to efficiently grow the business for decades to come following a record 10.4 percent increase in cargo volumes in 2015,” Port Commerce Director Molly Campbell said earlier this year.
Part of that approach will involve adding efficiencies to freight movement around the harbor. Bethann Rooney, a Port Authority veteran who serves as its assistant director, strategy and innovation, hinted at some details of that freight plan at a New York Maritime Forum panel earlier this month. Rooney mentioned a new container-on-barge service linking the Red Hook Container Terminal in Brooklyn with Port Newark Container Terminal across the harbor in New Jersey. Many large container vessels dock at Port Newark, and moving goods by barge to Red Hook would offer a gateway to Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island while avoiding congested roadways.