… a winning way.

Most everyone has read about the proposed shutting down of a few dozen U.S. military bases in this country. Thousands of jobs are at stake, and even though some locations may eventually be removed from the proposed list, the nation’s unemployment situation can only be aggravated. With so many firms moving their manufacturing and servicing operations overseas in the last decade, it won’t be an easy transition for the soon-to-be displaced workers.

The New England States will be the hardest hit. Maine, Rhode Island and Connecticut have grown to rely upon U.S. Navy bases that have been in place since long before most of us were born. In some localities, in fact, these government jobs have been the only game in town.

Let’s see now. What else have we read about in the recent past? Maybe by using a little common sense the folks in the Northeastern States can work their way out of this pickle. Let’s take a look, first of all, at the difficulties merchants and consumers in New England are encountering in their attempts to take delivery of those imported products manufactured by overseas firms … those products that used to be manufactured by firms in the New England region. (How ironic!)

• A few years ago, the Vessel Sharing Agreement was discontinued by the carriers serving the Port of Boston. One very prominent shipping executive put it this way; “ … labor in Boston is anchored to some old schemes that are unrealistic in today’s world. Boston is definitely the most expensive port in the U.S.”
• Since then, the newspapers and maritime journals have let it be known that more than 700,000 TEUs annually are imported by New England merchants, but about 90 percent of these containers are offloaded in Halifax, NS, and in NY/NJ. The extra cost to transport these goods from those distant ports are borne, of course, by the end-user.
• A few days ago, the Attorney General in Massachusetts announced the results of a lengthy and extensive investigation into those “old schemes”, and his findings confirmed what the shipping executive had said earlier. No need to get into that, though, because you read all about it in the newspapers.
• You’ve also read about the 29,119 TEU throughput at Boston in the first quarter of 2005. Not very impressive when you realize that the port takes up more than 100 acres of some very expensive waterfront acreage.

So far, we’ve seen that the New England region has lost thousands of jobs in the past few years; proposed base shut downs will eliminate several thousand more; there are few, if any, jobs awaiting those about to be laid off; and consumers and taxpayers alike are forced to pay higher costs because of a poorly run container port.

To make matters worse, just to the south of the distressed New England states, the giant port complex in NY/NJ is refusing to acknowledge an impossible situation. The folks down there have already made public a report predicting enormous growth over the next few decades. The numbers call for an added non-existent 15,000 acres to be annexed in order to accommodate this influx.

With nary a thought to the unavailability of usable land in the heavily populated NY/NJ region, port authorities have already undertaken the first step in a senseless effort to gear up for the unthinkable task of cramming into those port terminals some 19 million TEUs annually. In spite of the discouraging words heard from authorities like Conrad Everhard, James Hartung, Nolan Gimpel, Neil Davidson, and even the U.S. Office of Budget and Management, hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent in massive dredging projects in order to accommodate the anticipated oversized megaships that are being forced upon submissive U.S. port officials.

Will these 19 million TEUs become a reality? Definitely no, and maybe yes. Definitely no, in the NY/NJ complex, because the amount of space required to accommodate this volume simply doesn’t exist. Maybe yes, however, because economic engines throughout the world will generate that kind of growth. So how will this volume reach the consumers in the Northeastern states when NY/NJ sees its inadequacies? The great Vince Lombardi got his start as one of the “Seven Blocks of Granite” when New York’s Fordham University was a college football power. He went on to even greater things later on in the pro ranks where he coined the never-to-be-forgotten phrase, “Run to Daylight”. On November 1st this website used that famous saying as the headline for that day’s commentary. Coach Lombardi’s strategy is the way to avoid gridlock here in the East. It’s a way to bring future ease and comfort to many, many Americans at little or no cost. Review that article, if you will. Coach Lombardi designed running plays that avoided areas of congestion. Logisticians and port authorities should employ the same evasive tactics, because his way was a winning way.

We’re analyzing this situation with some good old common sense, remember. It would appear that the construction of functional, yet inexpensive container terminals in the New England region is exactly what those in the Northeast would need in order to pull their chestnuts out of the fire. We could begin at the shut down U.S. Naval Base at Quonset-Davisville, Rhode Island. (Another bit of irony!) A proposed terminal at that site has been studied a number of times and has been turned down because of faulty and inaccurate information submitted by questionable authorities. Reliance upon such information has cost the folks in Rhode Island and in other New England states thousands of jobs and millions (billions?) of much needed revenue. State officials were told that a container terminal would require from 290 to 390 existing acres plus an additional 126 to 200 “filled” acres; funding in the range of $ 265 million to $ 350 million; a construction period of 3 to 5 years; and “quite a bit of dredging”. These imaginative estimates brought a rejection from decision-making officials. And they should have. But those discouraging figures aren’t even in the ballpark.

In sharp contrast to the those speculative estimates, we’ve made it clear throughout this website that our patented system will throughput one million TEUs annually on just 35 acres; no funding will be required by the community; the operation will be up and running within one year; and no dredging would ever be required or permitted.

Specifically, our patented storage, retrieval and delivery facility, in place at the Rhode Island site, would create employment for close to 20,000 folks in Rhode Island and in Southeastern New England; many millions of dollars would be paid to the State of Rhode Island for the use of this property; and with this “Run to Daylight” strategy, the harassed folks at the terminals in the Port of NY/NJ would see a light at the end of the tunnel. There would be no losers.