Port Jersey, with the Statue of Liberty in the foreground
|Official name||Port Jersey Port Authority Marine Terminal|
|Type||Intermodal freight transport facility|
|Locale||Bayonne & Jersey City
|Operator||Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
New York New Jersey Rail, LLC
Conrail Shared Assets Operations
GCT Bayonne, LP
|Clearance below||50 feet (15 m)|
The Port Jersey Port Authority Marine Terminal, commonly abbreviated as the Port Jersey Marine Terminal or simply Port Jersey, is an intermodal freight transport facility that includes a container terminal located on the Upper New York Bay in the Port of New York and New Jersey. The municipal border of the Hudson County, New Jersey cities of Jersey City and Bayonne runs along the long pier extending into the bay. The north end of the facility houses the Greenville Yard, a rail yard located on a manmade peninsula that was built in the early 1900s by the Pennsylvania Railroad, in addition to the Claremont Terminal, once part of the Lehigh Valley Terminal Railway operations. The central area of the facility contains GCT Bayonne, a major post-panamax shipping facility operated by Global Container Terminals that underwent a major expansion in June 2014. The largest ship ever to call at the Port of New York-New Jersey, the MS Benefactor, docked at Port Jersey in July 2016 after sailing from China through the newly widened Panama Canal.
Most of Port Jersey is part of United States Foreign-Trade Zone 49. The facility was acquired by the Port Authority in July 2010. It is one of the few areas on the Bergen Neck peninsula where freight rail lines are still in use. Most of the area in and around the facility is restricted, though a walkway along its northern side is accessible to the general public and may eventually connect with the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. A very small bird sanctuary (specifically for the least tern) is also located on the promenade.
A canal to the south of Port Jersey separates it from the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor, a multi-use development area that is home to the Cape Liberty Cruise Port one of the New York metropolitan area's three cruise ship terminals. The peninsula was formerly the Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne (MOTBY), a former military base. Deepening of the Port Jersey Channel to 50 feet was authorized by the Army Corps of Engineers in 2010.
In October 2010, the Port Authority, announced plans to develop ExpressRail Port Jersey, allowing for more transfers to trains, and thus reducing transfers to trucks. Trains will use a renovated National Docks Secondary freight line to access the national network, part of the Liberty Freight Corridor. There are also plans for the expansion of Exit 14A on the Newark Bay Extension of the New Jersey Turnpike in anticipation of increase demand for truck traffic.
The Greenville Yard takes its name from the former town of Greenville which became part of Jersey City in the 1860s and lie east of New Jersey Route 185. The yard also lends its name to a nearby industrial park and distribution center. The yard was first developed in 1904 by the Pennsylvania Railroad, and opened with three based on designs of their bridges at Harsimus Cove. They were referred to as No.11, No.12, and No.13. A number of different organizations were involved in its construction: the Steele & Condict Company of New Jersey manufactured the bridge mechanisms, Henry Steers, Inc. did the foundation, pile racks, bridges, and aprons, while the Cooper-Wigand-Cooke Company and the R.P. & J.H. Staats Company of New York jointly erected the bridge superstructure and transfer machinery housing. The new designs utilized electric motors and controls, and a live load counterweight system. PRR set the industry standard for electrified lift bridges with this design; virtually identical bridges were built in the Port of New York and New Jersey area by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad at their Oak Point Yard in 1908, and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at their St. George, Staten Island terminal in 1912. A fourth bridge, No.14, was added in 1910, and a fifth, No.10, in 1924. This was constructed by the Schuylkill Bridge Works Division of the Lewis F. Shoemaker & Company.
The New York New Jersey Rail, LLC, (formerly the New York Cross Harbor Railroad), transfers freight cars across the bay to the Bush Terminal Yard in Brooklyn, New York. This car float operation reduces transfer time since they are not permitted to use New York Tunnel Extension under the Hudson River, Manhattan, and East River. Overland must they cross the Hudson 140 miles (225 km) to the north at Selkirk, New York, making a detour known as the "Selkirk hurdle." NYNJ leases approximately 27 acres (11 ha) of land at Conrail's Greenville Yard, where it connects with two Class I railroads – CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway – both use Conrail's North Jersey Shared Assets Area Access to the national freight rail network and Canadian Pacific Railway is possible via the Lehigh Valley Railroad Bridge to the west or the Long Dock Tunnel to the northwest.
On January 1, 1931, a short-circuit caused the wooden superstructure of Bridge No.10 to ignite. Within 15 minutes, two more superstructures and the wooden transfer house were ablaze. As there were no roads to the yard, land-based firefighters had to be brought in a mile by rail. There were 50 firefighters and land, and 20 tugs and fire boats. The only injury reported was a fractured ankle, when the employee jumped down a burning stairwell to survive. The car float and 25 cars owned by the NYNH&H that were docked at Bridge No.10 were a total loss, while three other car floats that sustained varying damage were salvageable. All five bridges were put out of service, and freight was rerouted through PRR's other facilities in Harsimus Cove and Exchange Place, in addition to the Lehigh Valley Railroad's terminal on the Morris Canal Basin. The fire cost the PRR $500,000 and $1,000,000, which in the 2014 value of the dollar would be between $7,772,000 and $15,550,000. It put unemployed 300 workers, although within two days they were put to work repairing bridges at Greenville or working at other PRR yards in the area. The American Bridge Company was contracted to rebuild the bridges, and were built functionally identical to the previous bridges; the design of the bridges were still extremely efficient, and the only major change was the elimination of any wood. Bridges Nos. 10, 13, and 14 were initially repaired, with No.12 being cleared for rebuilding in 1939. Because of World War II, however, the plan was suspended indefinitely. A new bridge, No.9, was later put into service in November 9, 1943 to satisfy traffic being generated by the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Brooklyn Army Terminal across the bay. These two facilities were most often the last place troops and supplies went before embarking to Europe.
In May 2010, the Port Authority announced that it would purchase the Greenville Yard and build a new barge-to-rail facility there, as well as improving the existing rail car float system. The barge-to-rail facility is expected to handle an estimated 60,000 to 90,000 containers of solid waste per year from New York City, eliminating up to 360,000 trash truck trips a year. The authority's board authorized $118.1 million for the overall project. The New Jersey Department of Transportation allocated more than $70 million in it 2012 fiscal budget for improvement to the barge and bridge operations.
In November 2011, the Port Authority contracted HDR, Inc. as prime design consultant. Work includes rehabilitating the railyard and waterfront structures, including a rail barge and transfer bridge, demolishing two other bridges, designing a new barge and two new bridges, and adding 10,000 feet of track. The project is expected to take 5 years. The site will include a large new intermodal rail terminal to be called ExpressRail Port Jersey.
On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused major damage to the Greenville facility, undermining the float bridge gantries and sinking one of the car floats. The 81-year-old gantry structures were in such bad condition that they had to be demolished. The working float bridge at Bush Terminal was transferred by barge to Greenville to restore rail float service. Previously plans called for the gantries to be demolished in phases and replaced by two new float bridges and a barge transfer station.
On September 17, 2014, the Port Authority announced that it was funding a major redevelopment of the Greenville Yard, to include a new ExpressRail container terminal servicing the Global Marine Terminal. About 10,000 feet of working track, 32,000 feet of support track and switches, along with infrastructure to support rail-mounted gantry cranes, will be constructed. The new terminal will initially support 125,000 container lifts a year. The Port Authority will also build two new rail to barge transfer bridges, purchase two new car float barges, each with 18 rail car capacity, and buy four new ultra low emission locomotives, replacing antiquated units. Of the project’s $356 million cost, $320 million will be paid by the Port Authority, with the remainder coming from stakeholders. The new facility is expected to become operational in July 2016.
In 2010 the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced its intentions to build a five tower wind farm at Port Jersey within three years. The windfarm is part of a larger plan to expand the container port on the manmade peninsula to accommodate post-panamax ships. In May 2012, Global Container Terminals announced detailed plan of the port extension. It included the installation of 9 wind turbines in order to meet a zero emissions footprint of their crane operation during periods of wind power generation.
Other PANYNJ container terminals
The other significant seaport terminals under the auspices of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are:
- Red Hook Marine Terminal on Upper New York Bay
- Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Arthur Kill at Newark Bay
- Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal on Newark Bay
- Geography of New York Harbor
- Cross-Harbor Rail Tunnel
- National Docks Secondary
- Rail freight transportation in New York City and Long Island
- List of rail yards
- Wind power in New Jersey
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- New York-area port authority to build rail transload facility, improve cross-harbor car float system, Progressive Railroading, September 18, 2014
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- Terminal Overview - Global Terminal: 2014, Global Container Terminals - accessed June 1, 2012