New York Container Terminal is offering partial bridge toll refunds to truckers using its facility in the Port of New York and New Jersey.
The terminal is located on Staten Island in New York City, which puts it at a disadvantage to terminals located in Newark, Elizabeth and Bayonne, as trucks traveling between New Jersey and Staten Island must pay tolls to cross one of the three bridges operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Those tolls have been climbing rapidly for both passenger cars and trucks in recent years. Trucks equipped with E-Z Pass electronic toll devices currently pay $12 an axle to cross port authority bridges at peak hours.
Any trucker that does business with NYCT and uses E-ZPass to pay the Staten Island bridge tolls is qualified to
participate in the program.
“We are pretty thrilled about it,” said Jim Devine, president and chief executive officer of Global Container Terminals USA, the arm of Vancouver, B.C.-based Global Container Terminals that owns New York Container Terminal as well as Global Terminal and Container Services in Bayonne, N.J. “With the tolls going up as much as they did and the prospect of them continuing to go up, it was vital that the terminal be able to do something about the tolls so that it remained economically viable.”
Devine said a program will correlate bridge crossings with entrances into the terminal, which is located in the Howland Hook section of Staten Island, adjacent to the Goethals Bridge. Truckers using the Goethals, Bayonne Bridge or Outerbridge Crossing will be refunded $5.32 if they go to NYCT. The program does not apply to trucks crossing onto Staten Island from Brooklyn via the Verazano-Narrows Bridge.
He noted that on Dec. 1 in each year, fares are scheduled to increase by an additional $2 per axle so they will climb to $14 per axle this December and eventually $18 per axle on Dec. 1, 2015, or $108 for a six axle truck. Devine said the refund will also escalate to bring the toll back to about $6 and change, plus an inflation adjustment.
“It is a tremendous incentive to bring cargo back to New York Container Terminal," he said. "The terminal has always provided a high level of service in terms of both vessels and gate transactions. We were a terminal of choice for truckers because you could get in and out of the facility so quickly.”
The company said it has been awarded Bi-State Truck Award for Best Terminal Operator six times since 2004.
“NYCT is back as a viable venue for international trade,” Devine said. The terminal several years ago had 550,000 marine lifts (loading or discharging a container from a ship) per year. But based on the loss of business that volume dropped to 135,000 lifts, he said.
“When tolls went from $6 an axle to $8 that seemed to be the catalyst to our start to lose business, because we were not able to produce enough value through stevedoring and truck turn times to offset the impact of the tolls,” he explained.
He said fund transfers have begun for truckers enrolled in the program. The goal is for truckers to get a refund within a week after they cross the bridge, so they get the refund before they get their EZ pass bill, he added.
More information is available here
Devine said the program will run through 2029. It will be funded largely from New York State. As NYCT makes further capital investments in its facilities under a 10-year extension of NYCT’s lease from 2019 to 2029, it will also receive support from the port authority.
“The port authority was a catalyst to make it happen,” Devine said. But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo "stepped in and wanted to protect New York’s maritime interest within the harbor.” - Chris Dupin