This achievement was made possible by the June opening of the newly raised Bayonne Bridge, which was previously too low to enable vessels of more than 9,500 TEU to gain access to three of the port's four main terminals.
However, the port's ability to regain and expand market share is still far from assured. How it handles the ramp-up in business - and the intense logistical demands of quickly offloading and removing thousands of containers - will go a long way in determining the port's future growth, reported IHS Media.
The port's share of east coast import volumes from Asia has contracted from 44.1 to 35.5 per cent since 2009, even as the coast as a whole has seized market share from the west coast, according to PIERS, a sister product of JOC.com within IHS Markit.
East coast ports - from Baltimore to Philadelphia and Savannah - have capitalised on New York-New Jersey's history of sporadic congestion, higher costs, union walkouts, and longer turn times; and truck queues of more than two hours are not uncommon. Some shippers are wary of using the port, wondering whether it's up to the mega-ship challenge.
"We actually see a lot of shippers looking for alternatives," senior director of trade management Atlantic for Hapag-Lloyd, Thilo Trusch, told the JOC Container Trade Europe Conference in Hamburg last month. "We see that customers are trying to find options to New York in the expectation that something bad might eventually happen there."
Officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, on the other hand, are confident that the port's size, location next to the nation's largest consumer market, and continuing efforts to upgrade and improve terminals and infrastructure will secure its existing business and ward off competition.