This week, numerous news reports have documented the unacceptable level of traffic and congestion along the NJ Turnpike leading into the Port of New York & New Jersey, particularly at Global Terminal-Bayonne. The Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers is committed to working with terminal operators and regulatory authorities to conceive and implement long-term solutions to the chronic congestion issues that plague the port, but we believe the extreme traffic conditions experienced over the past several days are a clear indication that immediate action must be taken.
The steady increase in volume at the ports has led to much longer processing times, serious reductions in efficiencies at the terminals, and significantly contributes to the congestion we are all experiencing. While others claim that occasional extended hours on weekends and holidays are a solution to this issue, it is unreasonable to expect drivers to subject themselves to being pulled away from their families whenever the terminals are unable to handle increased cargo volume.
Federal Hours of Service rules also make it nearly impossible for many drivers to work extended hours, especially when these changes are routinely announced with inadequate notice, making it difficult for dispatchers to plan and coordinate schedules ahead of time. Other suggested remedies such as an appointment system do nothing to alleviate the underlying source of the problem, and will only create additional difficulties–precisely why such “solutions” have been rescinded at other ports.
Regulatory authorities, terminal operators and shippers need to stop blaming the hardworking men and women of the local trucking industry for inefficiencies that are beyond the motor carriers’ control, stop the charging of outrageous fees that result from extreme congestion delays, and start improving these unacceptable conditions in order to ensure the continued viability of intermodal commerce in the region.
On behalf of our members, the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers is calling for an immediate three-day extension of free time for all containers at Global Terminal-Bayonne, not just on a “case by case” basis. We implore all terminal operators in the Port to consistently extend their hours of operation during weekdays and implement a third shift in the evenings, in order to increase the number of containers processed over a 24-hour period and immediately alleviate the traffic conditions being experienced by motorists in the area. Further, we ask the PANYNJ to direct Global-Bayonne to begin re-routing incoming ships to its New York Container Terminal location until this container backlog in Bayonne can be properly addressed and remedied.