The Port of NY/NJ Launches Container-on-Barge Service

The first barge to sail in a new cross-harbor service designed to increase productivity in the Port of New York and New Jersey will embark this week, linking Brooklyn with the Port Newark Container Terminal.

According to The Journal of Commerce, the new service is intended to reduce the truck traffic and pollution in and around terminals. Although  Red Hook Container Terminal in Brooklyn, the starting point for the barge trip, already runs a barge crossing for its own customers that takes goods to a small terminal in Newark, the new route is the first to offer a commercial service open to all shippers, linking one of the port’s four main terminals.

The barge service is designed to bring goods to and from Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, rather than take them by road through New Jersey and New York.

Bethann Rooney, assistant director of the port authority’s port department, said the service will have to prove itself by attracting customers. The project has been approved the US Maritime Administration as part of the marine highway system, opening the way to get federal funds for upgrades to the infrastructure, but not operating funds.

Mike Stamatis, president and CEO of the terminal said the project took about two years to put together, and alongside the marine highway designation the project had to get operating agreements with the Customs Service and Homeland Security.

For the moment, the barge will be based on demand, and will set sail when needed, he said.

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