Friday, November 2, 2012

Port of New York-New Jersey Closed Indefinitely

The Port of New York-New Jersey has been closed indefinitely due to Hurricane Sandy, which ravaged the area earlier this week.

“Port Authority staff and engineers remain on site at all Port Authority facilities to inspect conditions and assess damage,” the Port Authority of New York-New Jersey said in an Oct. 31 news release regarding the seaport’s status. “Our primary goal is to ensure the safety of our workers and those who use our facilities. We will resume operations at our facilities as early as possible, but only when it is safe to do so.”

With the port’s closure, ships have been forced to either idle offshore or leave for other destinations. In an interview with the Virginian-Pilot newspaper, Virginia Port Authority spokesman Joe Harris said that on Nov. 1, the Port of Hampton Roads was expected to receive two shipments of containers and vehicles originally bound for New York-New Jersey.

The US Coast Guard, which has been assessing damage caused by the hurricane, has said one of its highest priorities now is seeing that the port returns to full operations.

“The United States is a maritime nation and we rely heavily on the ports for commerce – 95 percent of our goods come to us by way of sea,” USCG Vice Adm. Parker said following an Oct. 31 survey of the devastation. “The port of New York and New Jersey is vital to our nation’s economy and we are doing everything humanly possible to get the port back to full operations. This is an all-hands on deck evolution.”

Although the hurricane led to the closings of numerous ports along the Eastern seaboard, including facilities in Maine, Connecticut, Virginia and Maryland, most of those have reopened. New York-New Jersey, which is near where the hurricane struck hardest, is still without power.

NY-NJ is the third busiest port in the US, after Los Angeles and Long Beach. It handles between three and four billion cargo containers annually, valued at a combined $175 billion.