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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's (PANYNJ) cargo volumes set a record pace with a 13.4 percent increase during the first half of 2015, authority officials announced Tuesday.The port handled 3,093,789 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) compared with 2,727,554 TEUs handled during the same period in 2014. The record volumes have allowed the port to maintain its position as the busiest on the East Coast, authority officials said in a press release.Cargo handled by ExpressRail, the authority's ship-to-rail system serving New York and New Jersey marine terminals, also continued to increase as a percentage of total port cargo compared to trucks. During the first six months of 2015, ExpressRail handled 257,103 containers, up 15.1 percent from the previous record year of 2014, when 223,374 containers were handled, PANYNJ officials said.The agency's $600 million investment in ExpressRail and plans to build a new ExpressRail facility in Greenville Yard in Jersey City have been critical to addressing the need for on-dock rail to improve port efficiency, competitiveness and reduce emissions, they said. Port-wide cargo facility charges now fund port road, rail and security projects."We're reaping the benefits of a strong regional economy and labor uncertainty on the West Coast," said Port Commerce Director Richard Larrabee. "Our challenge now is to find ways to more efficiently handle the record volumes we have seen all year, and we’ve been working collaboratively with all port stakeholders to meet this goal."Meanwhile, PANYNJ has named Michael Marino director of the authority's transit-rail service known as PATH. Marino, who has more than 40 years of experience in the railroad industry, previously served as PATH's deputy director since 2014 and acting director since earlier this year.Marino joined PANYNJ in 2011 following a 30-year career with Amtrak and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. At PATH, he will oversee core functions including rail operations, safety, security, asset management, customer service, administration and the capital program.In the weeks following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Marino was instrumental in PATH’s recovery from the storm and saltwater damage to the system's infrastructure, PANYNJ officials said.