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Rail News: Intermodal

New York/New Jersey port sets container-handling record in 2005, launches security initiatives in 2006

Last year, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) handled a record 4.8 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) — a 7 percent increase compared with 2004’s 4.5 TEUs. Officials attribute the record to an increase in Far East and Southeast Asia trade.

The authority also handled a record number of containers at its ExpressRail ship-to-rail terminals in New Jersey. The facilities handled 303,032 containers, an almost 7 percent increase compared with 2004.

PANYNJ officials expect cargo volume to continue to rise this year. So, they’re implementing several port security initiatives.

The authority recently created a 10-person task force charged with developing recommendations to improve port security during the next six months.

In addition, PANYNJ is participating in a pilot program designed to track the status of containers from origin to destination. The first round of containers departed Europe and are scheduled to arrive at the New York/New Jersey port on or about March 13.

The containers will be tracked with a Container Security Unit, a “black box” that features sensors designed to monitor the container’s location through Global Positioning Systems, and monitor whether the door has been opened, if light has entered the container and whether there are traces of radiation or carbon monoxide.

If the initial pilot is successful, the program will be expanded to monitor up to 1,000 containers between March and October. Pilot results will be used to create worldwide container-tracking standards that could be implemented by the federal government and International Maritime Organization, the port authority said.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., and Seattle and Tacoma, Wash., are participating in a similar program.

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More News from 3/8/2006