By Ben Meyer / www.americanshipper.com / July 17th, 2018
The Freight NYC initiative calls for strategic investments in maritime and rail assets as well as new distribution facilities.
New York City will invest $100 million to overhaul its aging freight infrastructure in an effort to create a more efficient supply chain network, reduce road congestion, reduce the environmental impact of cargo shipping and create jobs.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation on Monday unveiled the Freight NYC initiative, a sweeping investment plan that calls for increased spending on existing maritime and rail assets, the construction of new distribution facilities and the further deployment of low- and zero-emission trucks.
NYCEDC, a not-for-profit group that aims to promote economic growth in New York through expansion and redevelopment programs, noted that local supply chains currently rely on trucks to move as much as 90 percent of the freight coming into the city.
Already the most populous in the United States and the largest cargo gateway on the East Coast, New York is expected to see local freight volumes surge 68 percent by 2045, according to NYCEDC, which would cause serious bottlenecks and potentially bring supply chains to a standstill given current infrastructure restraints.
The group estimates that roadway congestion cost the local economy $862 million in 2017 alone, and reducing over-the-road truck traffic is one of the key goals of the Freight NYC initiative.
Under the plan, the city will partner with private companies to invest in multimodal infrastructure with a specific focus on upgrading and expanding marine terminals and barge operations. Specific projects will include building a new barge facility for Hunts Point Food Distribution Center in the Bronx, a new barge terminal at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park connecting Brooklyn to the new barge network and reactivating underutilized rail lines by constructing new transload facilities and new passing lanes within the existing rights-of-way.
In addition, the plan calls for the construction of new distribution, transload and warehousing facilities in order to meet growing consumer demands as well as create secondary pathways to move goods in the event of adverse climate impact and other major disruptions. For example, NYCEDC said it will release a request for proposal for a private partner to build an urban distribution center at the Brooklyn Army Terminal with a minimum of 500,000 square feet of capacity on July 20, as well as a separate RFP next week for the development of a four-acre site near JFK Airport for an air cargo and distribution facility.
Through Freight NYC, the city also will continue to promote the use of “green” trucks for last-mile delivery with the goal of removing 15,000 vehicles’ worth of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the local environment per year and eliminating 80 percent of gas emissions by 2050. The New York City Department of Transportation will expand its Hunts Point Clean Trucks Program, which offers rebates to truck operators for replacing or retrofitting traditional diesel-engine vehicles, while supporting the development of clean fuel infrastructure in freight hubs, including facilities for compressed natural gas and electric charging.
NYCEDC said the plan also complements the department’s soon-to-be-released Smart Truck Management Plan, which aims to “guide shorter-term freight planning and management, focusing more directly on improving the effectiveness of the 90 percent of goods that move by truck in New York City.”
Developed in concert with NYCDOT and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the plan has received vocal support from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, representatives from the federal, state and local governments, as well as shipping industry experts.
“Freight NYC is an investment in our city’s future,” said de Blasio. “By modernizing our approach to shipping, we will create thousands of good-paying jobs while keeping our streets safer and cleaner.”
Molly Campbell, port director at PANYNJ, said the plan represents a “critical step” toward increasing the amount of freight moving by rail in the region and decreasing road congestion.
“The planned initiatives complement strategic Port Authority, federal and New York State investments into improving and modernizing the region’s freight network, with a strong focus of leveraging underutilized rail and maritime assets. We look forward to further supporting and collaborating with the City of New York and NYCEDC to help advance their efforts into the future.”
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