In spite of fears that spikes in cargo exchange caused by mega ship calls could strain port resources and systems, congestion has not worsened, and terminal gate truck backups and chassis access problems have not materialised, according to port truckers, shippers and the New York Shipping Association (NYSA), reported IHS Media.
The opening of the elevated bridge in June 2017 has enabled containerships of more than 9,500 TEU to reach Maher Terminals, Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT), Global Container Terminals (GCT) New York and APM Terminals. Prior to the bridge raising only GCT Bayonne could handle vessels of that size.
The largest ships to date to call at the port are 14,414 TEU ships on a monthly CMA CGM rotation from China.
Since the elevation, the port has seen a doubling in the number of ships sized 10,000 TEU or more calling at the port. In addition, the port's share of east coast-loaded cargo, on the decline since 2010, has ticked up, yet the port's share of Asian loaded cargo imported to the east coast has continued to drop.
The first year's performance prompted an positive assessment from port officials, with director Molly Campbell calling it 'a good story, and it's good for the port.' She said the port has seen a 'continuing cascade of the larger ships.' Truckers also agree that mega vessel arrivals appear to have sparked few problems.
Although the size of vessels has risen, the volume of cargo unloaded and loaded from the biggest ships has not so far changed much from the typical volume of an 8,000 TEU or 9,000 TEU ship.
Vessels sized 10,000 TEU to 11,000 TEU in 2017 loaded or unloaded between 45 and 54 per cent of their capacity, or between 4,500 TEU and 5,940 TEU, according to port authority figures.
In 2018 eight of the top 10 vessel exchanges were on vessels of 13,000 TEU, which handled cargo equal to 46 per cent of the capacity, or 6,000 TEU. All of those volumes are under the average figure for an 8,000 TEU to 9,000 TEU ship at the port, which in 2017 loaded or unloaded 75 per cent of its capacity, or between 6,000 TEU and 6,750 TEU.
The number of 10,000 TEU or more ships entering the port rose from between five and eight a month after the opening of the elevated bridge to 13 of that size in March. An average of ten ships of 10,000 TEU or more called at the port in the first quarter of 2018 and a total of 93 ships of that size called at the port in the first 10 months after the raised bridge opened, compared with 57 in the same period in 2017.