THE Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) have joined to make greater use of barges and take trucks off the road.
To this end, they have created the North Atlantic Marine Highway Alliance, which will foster the use of barges to supplement road and rail haulage, reports American Shipper.
The group will serve in an advisory capacity on research, analysis and relationship building to support the realisation of a financially viable, regional barge network, according to an announcement from the port authority.
The alliance will consist of port authorities, marine terminal operators and service providers and will provide a forum for stakeholders to work collaboratively to develop and expand regional barge service from Maryland to Maine.
The US$100 million plan aims to reduce dependency on trucking for distribution and increase use of rail freight and marine barging to move freight in and around the New York City. Freight volumes are forecast to increase 70 per cent by 2025, according to the port authority.
The US Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration will be supporting efforts to create a regional barge network through its marine highway grant programme. In August, NYCEDC was awarded $300,000 through a federal grant.
Matched by the City of New York, the money will be used to research potential markets and operational elements of the barge system, the port authority said.
'Our goal is to balance the need to efficiently and effectively move freight throughout the region and beyond, while continuing to be good environmental stewards to the communities that surround our port facilities,' said port authority executive director Rick Cotton.
Said NYCEDC president James Patchett: 'Reducing the amount of cargo coming in and out of the New York City metro area by truck is key to improving air quality and decreasing congestion.'