Port of New York and New Jersey Auto Trade Resilient in the Wake of COVID-19

Port of New York and New Jersey Auto Trade Resilient in the Wake of COVID-19

As the New York-New Jersey region reopens, the continued operations at the Port of New York and New Jersey are proving to be a major driver in the ability of regional businesses to restart commerce quickly and smoothly. Even through the worst of the pandemic, when the region became an early national epicenter of this public health crisis, the Port remained open and fully operationally thanks to quick coordination with government and Port partners to deem supply chain operations essential and to implement health and safety protocols so that the Port workforce felt safe while performing their essential duties. In particular, the automotive trade, which Is a key market segment for the New York and New Jersey gateway, remained resilient throughout the pandemic despite some early impact. 

As we navigate in the uncharted waters of this global pandemic and the resulting economic shock wave, the auto industry has become a rare bright spot. Media reports show increasing auto sales, especially for light trucks that have outperformed expectations.  Restarts and ramp-ups of production, especially in Mexico, China and Europe, and new vehicles including a bigger push towards electric vehicles and hybrids, show the industry’s resiliency and resurgence during a turbulent and difficult period. The 2019 year-end slowdown of new vehicle sales, uncertainty related to tariffs and trade agreements, and the earlier impact of the pandemic created a perfect storm that auto processors continue to work through. These challenges posed significant issues for supply chain companies, planners and service providers within the port and auto industry, but collaboration among port partners, customers, labor, and service providers kept vehicles moving through the Port even when auto dealerships were closed.

Within our gateway, BMW, FAPS, and Toyota —all process new finished vehicles that transit through the port. BMW and Toyota are direct processors for their family brand of vehicles, while FAPS is the only third-party processor that supports a majority of the largest and unique auto manufacturers in the world. Vehicles processed through these facilities are destined to major local, regional markets as well as elsewhere across North America. Additional business from the export of used vehicles, the import and export of new and used machinery, and other over dimensional cargo rounds out the Roll-On/Roll-Off (Ro-Ro) related portfolio at the Port of New York and New Jersey.

To keep moving forward, our auto processing partners constantly break new ground to advance the trade in the New York/New Jersey gateway.  Expansion of short sea shipping options from Mexico to the Port of NY and NJ are expected to increase Nissan import volumes in the Port by 35,000 units. FAPS also announced new agreements with General Motors and Tesla for the import and export of environmentally friendly electric vehicles.

Exceptional services and dedication by labor, a great geographic advantage, and an extensive network of sea, land and rail networks makes our gateway the fifth-largest in the country for the automotive trade. Additional advantages include the Port Authority’s Automotive Incentive Program (AIP), available through 2024, which offers current and potential automotive manufacturers, incentives for new or incremental growth of import and export vehicles, with added benefits for fuel-efficient vehicles. Such advantages, along with available Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) benefits, makes the Port of NY and NJ the port of choice for the auto industry.