Last week, both the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) and Bi-State Motor Carriers Association (Bi-State) sent formal correspondence to the Commission raising concerns about equipment availability and demurrage and detention charges. Both groups urged the Commission to suspend demurrage and detention at the Port of New York and New Jersey. In order to see conditions first-hand and acknowledge the importance of the issues, Chairman Maffei and Ms. Marvin travelled to the Port yesterday to meet with stakeholders directly.
Americans buying 30% more goods from overseas has helped create a logistics crisis at ports caused by a labor shortage and practices of ocean carriers that exacerbate the problems.
High import volumes being diverted from the West Coast is putting renewed pressure on marine terminals at the Port of New York and New Jersey and forcing additional limits on intermodal truckers for returning empty containers to the port.
Motor carriers say problems with returning empty containers mean they cannot relieve the congestion of loaded imports at US ports.
While the ships in New York and New Jersey’s Newark port can be unloaded in a timely manner, one of the main problems facing the area is the lack of truck drivers available to move the goods to warehouses and then on to their final destinations.
The Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers applauded the Federal Maritime Commission’s formation of Supply Chain Innovation Teams aimed at addressing ongoing obstacles to efficiency at the Port of NY/NJ.
Port congestion is the main reason truckers miss appointments, said Lisa Yakomin, president of the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers, a drayage trade group. Her organization has asked the FMC to see if it can delay the implementation of the new fees in NY-NJ.
Two of the largest intermodal trucking organizations in the Northeast have pulled out of a task force aimed at increasing New York and New Jersey port performance, saying the group has failed to address the chronic inability of truckers to return empty containers to marine terminals.
The commerce flowing through our ports represents billions of dollars in revenue and hundreds of thousands of jobs. All too frequently it comes to a standstill — in part because truckers can’t get their cargo to the docks. And the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers predicts “catastrophic congestion” if changes aren’t made. NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams recently asked Truckers Association President Jeffrey Bader what’s causing the congestion.
Op-Ed in Star-Ledger by Jeff Bader