The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey welcomes the largest container ship to call at any U.S. East Coast port, the CMA CGM Marco Polo, on May 20, 2021. Credit: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Maritime Veteran Beth Rooney to Take the Helm at the Port of New York and New Jersey

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1561
April 15, 2022

Maritime verteran Beth Rooney will take over the Port Department at the Port Authoritiy of New York and New Jersey after its current director, Sam Ruda, announced he is stepping down.

Rooney brings more than three decades of experience in the maritime industry and has worked in the Port Department since 1993. Having served as Deputy Director for the past three years, she will assume the Director role effective May 2.

Sam Ruda, who has presided over record-setting growth at the East Coast’s busiest and largest seaport, has worked at the Port Authority since 2015 after a 29-year career in transportation, including 12 years as a key member of the Port of Portland management team in Oregon. He was appointed to head the Port of New York and New Jersey in April 2019, five months after being named Interim Director. He will depart the agency to return to his home on the West Coast.

Graduating with a masters degree from State University of New York Maritime College, Rooney joined the Port Authority in 1993 and has held a series of progressively higher-level management positions in the Port Department since. She was appointed Deputy Port Director in April 2019 after serving as the Port’s Assistant Director overseeing policy, planning, legislative and regulatory affairs, as well as environmental sustainability, performance, and efficiency imperatives.

“Throughout my tenure at the Port Authority, I’ve been privileged to be a part of the incredible growth and evolution of the Port of New York and New Jersey,” Rooney said. “The future is bright, and it’s my honor to lead the Port, our customers and partners through the next generation of transformational changes and to prepare for the long-term success of the Port, the largest economic driver in the region.”

Bethann Rooney, left, with Molly Campbell (former Director of the Port Department of The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey)

Together, Ruda and Rooney have led the Port of New York and New Jersey, the third busiest port in the nation behind the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach, through record-breaking volumes growth while navigating challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and global supply chain disruptions. Ruda and Rooney have also overseen the development and implementation of the Port Master Plan, guiding the port’s strategy for growth over the next 30 years.

“Sam Ruda has led the Port Department during one of the most critical periods in its history,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “He has provided superior leadership during his years as director and has helped build an extraordinary team, starting with Beth Rooney, whose vast experience and expertise will continue to be a tremendous asset for one of the country’s most significant gateways.”

“We’ve been extremely fortunate to have an executive of Sam’s caliber to lead the nation’s premier East Coast seaport during a time of unprecedented growth and operational challenges,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “And we are even more fortunate to appoint a widely respected and accomplished industry veteran to lead the Port into the future. Beth has tackled a wide array of critical initiatives during her remarkable career, and she will provide the Port with both continuity and vision – ensuring that the quality of our operations remains second to none in the industry.”

In 2021, the Port of New York and New Jersey moved a total of nearly 9 million TEUs, an increase of 20.2 percent from the annual 2019 pre-pandemic total and the highest single-year total in its history.

“It has been an honor and privilege to be part of the senior leadership team at the Port Authority and to preside over this nationally important seaport complex,” said Ruda. “Working with an incredible Port Department team, as well as our terminal operators and industry stakeholders, I’m proud of our accomplishments and congratulate Beth Rooney on her well-deserved appointment as director.”

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