New York Port Volumes Stay Strong Despite Tight Drayage Capacity

New York Port Volumes Stay Strong Despite Tight Drayage Capacity

Truck turn times are improving and delays lessen at the Port of New York and New Jersey. Although the drayage capacity is still tight as terminals there work down the January backlog of containers, local logistics executives still see healthy volumes of containers coming through the port.

One of the main causes of the delays was the record volume of containers coming into the U.S. The Port Authority fifth best January ever at the Port of New York and New Jersey. With total volume reaching 622,531 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), that is a 6 percent rise from a year earlier and a 2 percent gain from December.

Container movements getting done with two hours or less

The terminals at the Port of New York and New Jersey are reported to be getting between 60 percent and 80 percent of container movements done in two hours or less. Trucking companies report is compared to drivers reporting extreme instances of container moves taking between four and eight hours. One driver even said trucks were queued “all the way to the Turnpike” during parts of January.

Drayage capacity remains tight

Despite the big rush to move freight into the U.S. ahead of yet another delay in the imposition of tariffs, drayage capacity remains tight. Inbound loads of 327,345 TEUs are the third highest monthly total on record and 6 percent higher than a year ago. Also, the large amounts of empty containers, totaling 183,353 TEUs, increased by 11 percent from a year earlier.

Therefore, as a terminal executive said, only about half of the import containers in their yard were moved, due to less drayage supply. Even with extended gate hours, backlogs are still episodic with some terminals having to divert ships to less-impacted terminals.

The Lunar New Year slowdown makes it difficult for volumes to sustain that growth through February and March. But local trucking sources said they continue to see strong volumes. “We are doing lots of volume right now,” one terminal executive stated.

Preparing for the next shipping season

As a part of preparing for the next peak shipping season, logistics executives in the area are planning upgrades. Additional yard equipment for handling containers and a truck appointment system are the upgrades which will be rolled out through the second quarter and third quarter. These upgrades are expected to improve truck turn times at the terminal.

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