The Port of New York and New Jersey will be able to handle 14,000 TEU vessels toward the end of 2017, officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey confirmed on June 7.
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.
The US East Coast ports, mainly New York and Norfolk are expected to reap the most fruit from the cargo influx from the expanded Panama Canal. However, before these ports can accommodate the Post-Panamax vessels with up to 13,000/14,000 TEUs in order to compete with the West Coast ports, they first need to resolve several infrastructural issues.
Specifically, the New York New Jersey Port Authority is to raise the Bayonne Bridge whereas Charleston port is yet to complete the necessary dredging works.
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 “as the premier US East Coast gateway for trade.”
“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,” said Molly Campbell, Director of Port Commerce for Port of NY & NJ commenting on media reports questioning the basin’s ability to handle mega ships and the role of the Army Corps of Engineers General Reevaluation Study.
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 port authority added.
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.