port of newark container terminal pnct

Image courtesy PNCT

The Port of New York and New Jersey is one of the busiest ports in the world and thus a major commercial artery for global commerce. In 2011, the port handled over 3 million cargo containers in carrying merchandise worth $175 billion, making it a vital conduit for bringing goods into the Northeast.  Over the weekend however, AIS beacons showed dozens of ships steaming east, out of the way of what became the largest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.  Hours later, millions witnessed the subsequent destruction that hurricane Sandy dished out to the region.

Steffen Conradsen, Head of Global Execution at Maersk Line, gave us some insight on Monday into the decision making involved when deciding what to do when storms approach, but now that the storm has passed… what’s next?

This morning, Mr. Conradsen replied to our query noting, “Our contingencies are very dependant on when the various ports are re-opening and are accessible. The biggest headache right now is the Port of New York and New Jersey where they have not yet signalled when the port will be ready for operation again. All other ports down the coast (Norfolk, Charleston, Savannah etc) are all open for business.

This means that we have some vessels that have been diverted in order to protect the onwards schedule, others have swapped the calls in the rotation and again others have been slowed down in order to match quay availability in New York.”

The Port of Newark Container Terminal (PNCT) remains closed today.  In their latest correspondence this afternoon they note that they will not be open tomorrow and that there is no power in the entire port.  Teams are on site evaluating the conditions of all facilities, equipment and power status.

Peter Tirschwell from the Journal of Commerce tweeted the following image this afternoon from the Port of Newark.

port of newark peter tirschwell

According to AIS beacons, there are at least eight ships (possibly more) anchored patiently outside the entrance of New York Harbor.  Although the Port of New York is technically open, for all commercial intents and purposes, it’s closed until the port infrastructure can get rebooted.  Updates to follow.

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