Its strategic business assessment, which began in July and will be completed in early 2009, will explore land use issues, including terminal capacity and space that may be needed to handle future cargo growth in a financially and environmentally sustainable manner. It also will look at cargo projections and ways to boost port productivity.
The new assessment is needed, in part, because the port’s cargo trade has grown much faster than anticipated. A Comprehensive Port Improvement Plan completed in 2006 predicted, for example, that container throughput would not exceed 5m teu until 2015. In fact, the port surpassed that number in 2006 and handled 5.3m teu in 2007. That same study predicted that by 2020 the port would handle approximately 674,000 vehicles, about a third less than last year’s 930,298.
“With the demand for consumer goods rising and the construction of bigger ships underway, we must immediately plan the port’s future,” said port authority deputy executive director Susan Bass Levin. “This assessment will give us the tools we need to face port capacity issues head-on, and to make the strategic investments we need to ensure continuing cargo growth.”