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Port Authority terminals set annual cargo volume record in 2014

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Port Authority terminals set an annual cargo volume record last year.
Port Authority terminals set an annual cargo volume record last year. - ()

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey set a record in 2014 for cargo volume passing through its shipping terminals, the agency said Monday.

The port handled more than 3.3 million cargo containers during the year, the authority said, up 5.4 percent from 2013 and 4.1 percent from the previous record high set in 2012. Officials attributed the activity to an improving economic picture.

“Our port is continuing to reap the benefits of an uptick in the economy, which has resulted in the hiring of more dockworkers and economic growth for the region,” Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said in a prepared statement. “We plan to continue our investments in the port in the coming years to maintain the port’s 296,000 direct and indirect jobs and to cement our port as the East Coast’s leading destination.”

RELATED: $356M Port Authority project bringing rail shipping system to Jersey City's Global Terminal

The agency said the region’s shipping terminals make up the busiest on the East Coast, holding nearly 30 percent of the total market share. As a result, it’s been able to certify 601 new longshoremen and checkers during the past year.

The Port Authority also pointed to an uptick in its ship-to-rail system known as ExpressRail, which also set a new record by handling 465,405 containers in 2014. That was up 9.3 percent over 2013.

To that end, the agency has invested more than $600 million in ExpressRail and plans to build a new ship-to-rail facility at Greenville Yard in Jersey City.

The activity and the investment comes as work continues to raise the deck of the Bayonne Bridge, a $1.6 billion project that will allow larger ships to reach Port Newark-Elizabeth in summer 2016. Those vessels are expected to call on the port once a project to expand the Panama Canal is complete in the coming year.

During 2014, China remained the top import country serving the port, with 923,975 import containers, the agency said in a news release. Following China are Germany and India, with 179,715 and 176,621 import containers, respectively.

The top import commodities in 2014 were furniture, beverages and appliances, the agency said.

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