Port Authority sees cargo increase at local ports following Baltimore Bridge collapse

The ports in New Jersey and New York control about a third of the nation's economy with 95% of consumer goods coming through.

Nick Meidanis

May 10, 2024, 10:25 AM

Updated 9 days ago

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The Port Authority is taking in about 10% more cargo since the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore County, Maryland that happened in March.
This is not as much as the COVID surge a few years ago, which was about a 30% jump. Still, the ship crash puts under scrutiny how you get those packages, an industry set to boom in the coming years.
"We look to handle the cargo demand that is expected between now and 2050 to double, if not triple,” said Beth Rooney, port director of Port Authority.
The ports in New Jersey and New York control about a third of the nation's economy with 95% of consumer goods coming through.
"We have the capacity to absorb Baltimore’s cargo without any impact on the supply chain,” Rooney said.
Rooney says the Port Authority has given access to nearly 700 truckers who would normally pick up cargo out of Baltimore. This is an extra step for many in an industry that's changing.
Toni Ann Careccio, chief customer officer and board member of PortPro, says getting the trucking companies up to speed on modern technology is critical. She says PortPro is doing that.
The Jersey City-based company sells tech to trucking companies and helps them track ships and cargo drivers from end to end.
"A lot of these are mom-and-pop companies that have been around for a very long time, you know, running on paper and pens, spreadsheets or legacy server-based systems," Careccio said.
But the challenges go beyond software. Trucking must reconcile a shift to clean energy. More drivers are needed, and warehouses may not be able to keep up in the coming years — that’s why there's pressure to build more of them around the state.
Port Authority says it’s prepared to run 24/7. "But the only way we can do that is if the rest of the supply chain partners trucking warehousing and distribution centers in particular are able to operate more than the hours that they’re operating today,” Rooney said.
Rooney admits it's not typical for Port Authority to try to influence other parts of the supply chain, but change is needed to keep up with demand.


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