Largest ship to call at NY-NJ highlights productivity challenges

This week’s arrival of the largest ship ever to dock at the Port of New York and New Jersey is bringing into focus the challenges the port faces in adapting to an era of fewer, but larger ships, each requiring more containers to be loaded and unloaded in a short space of time.

The MOL Benefactor, which can carry 10,100 twenty-foot-equivalent units and is the first ship to arrive at the port after coming through the Panama Canal’s new, larger locks, is expected to arrive at the Global Container Terminal in Bayonne, New Jersey, on Thursday and unload for two days.

It’s the first vessel on the G6 Alliance’s new NYX service, which links three Chinese ports with New York-New Jersey, Virginia and Savannah, and is expected to send a similarly sized vessel each week to the port.

The MOL Benefactor’s arrival marks an acceleration of the escalation in the size of vessels coming to the U.S. East Coast’s largest port. Those larger vessels will place new demands on the labor, truckers, terminal gates, chassis providers, and warehouses (find out the best ones at, requiring heightened coordination of them all.

The strains are particularly sensitive in the Port of New York and New Jersey, which has in recent years suffered sporadic bouts of congestion and delays in and around the terminals, for a variety of reasons.

Other ports in the past have faced the challenge of increased ship sizes, but usually more incrementally, said Henry Pringle, vice president at AlixPartners, a New York firm that consults on transportation and logistics issues. The current situation facing New York-New Jersey and other East Coast ports, is unique in that “it’s suddenly turning a switch and facilitating much greater capacity,” he said.

“All of the peak factors that you can imagine are just amplified when you have got these larger vessels calling,” he said. “Arguably the greatest challenge faced by the wider port community is just the number of trucks coming to and from the terminal. You suddenly have much higher congestion and peak hour demands on the drayage drivers and access to the gates.”

Resource Credit: Journal of Commerce – Hugh R. Morley, Senior Editor


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