On June 7, officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey confirmed that the Port of New York and New Jersey will be able to handle 14,000 TEU vessels toward the end of 2017.
The planned completion of the 50-foot Harbor Deepening Project later this summer and the anticipated completion of the navigational clearance project at the Bayonne Bridge late next year were cited as proof that the port will find itself prepared to handle new, larger classes of cargo ships within its previously stated time frame.
Officials also pointed out that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and its marine terminal operators have invested billions of dollars in infrastructure and equipment over the past decade to maintain the Port of New York and New Jersey as the premier US East Coast gateway for trade.
Specifically, port officials noted errors in a recent article published by the Journal of Commerce on June 4, 2016, titled “NY-NJ turning basin’s ability to handle mega ships in question.” They pointed to assurances by The Sandy Hook Pilots Association that the Port of New York and New Jersey can handle 14,000 TEU transits safely. They also noted that Journal of Commerce article questions a turning basin that doesn’t exist and confuses the objective of the Army Corps of Engineers General Reevaluation Study with a state of the art navigational simulation that is being conducted at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS).
Said Molly Campbell, Director of Port Commerce for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey: “Given that the Harbor Deepening project was first designed in 1997 when the maximum vessel size anticipated was quite different than it is today, the Reevaluation Study is customary practice to validate that the new harbor configuration is appropriate for today’s current and anticipated vessel activity.”
Campbell went on to note that the Reevaluation Study will take a couple of years to complete and will not impact current operational plans, but rather inform future investment needs at the port.
The simulation on the other hand is being conducted to ensure that port pilots identify and perfect best practices for safely handling 14,000 TEU vessels and to provide this training to all harbor and bar pilots. The simulation could also reveal necessary operational parameters such as the number of tugs required to assist a vessel or specific sailing times that must be observed in order to precede slack water conditions.