The Port Authority has launched a unique barge and rail cargo distribution network to provide jobs and economic activity, speed the flow of goods to consumer markets, and help reduce highway traffic. The Port Inland Distribution Network will move containerized cargo by barge or rail between marine terminal facilities in the New York-New Jersey area and regional terminals in New York, New Jersey, and three other Northeast states. Local trucking will then bring the cargo from the regional port facility to its ultimate customer location.
One of the primary goals of the cargo distribution network is to reduce the heavy reliance of port customers on trucks to move cargo. Currently, about 84% of the containers that come in or go out of the port are transported by truck. Reduced truck miles traveled will improve air quality by eliminating large quantities of emissions.
The network will be a new service for containerized cargo, such as furniture, clothing, and beverages. Regional ports will contract with private barge operators, which will charge shippers for the service.
The Port Authority will provide financial support to make the service appealing to shippers. In September, the Port Authority Board approved up to $6 million to assist with start-up costs for the Port Inland Distribution network. In addition to Albany, the Port Authority is in negotiations with port operators in Davisville, RI, Bridgeport and New Haven, CT, Camden and Salem, NJ, and Wilmington, DE.