“… carbon tax for trucks …”

A study released about five years ago by the Port of NY/NJ projected that the annual container volume for that port facility would reach a level of 19 million TEUs by the year 2040. That port’s volume exceeded 4 million TEUs this past year and in light of this predicted growth the following points have been noted:

• More than 3,000 acres are being used to support the storage, retrieval and delivery of those 4 million TEUs. (Our patented system could handle 4 million TEUs on about 130 acres.)

• Using conventional means of container handling, 19 million TEUs in the coming years will require the acquisition of an additional, but non-existent, 14,000 acres. (That busy tract of land they call Manhattan, to put things in perspective, is slightly larger than 19,000 acres.) Our patented systems could handle the projected 19 million TEUs on less than 700 of the acres now being used.

• Even if it were possible to handle 19 million TEUs annually, approximately 250 miles of freight cars would be winding through New York City and Northern New Jersey traffic every day. The traffic congestion and the billions of taxpayer dollars required to complete such a massive railway system would incur widespread public disapproval.

• Truck transport is out of the question because environmental groups are even now filing protests because of air pollution and traffic congestion.

• The only solution to the problem is the development of additional ports, just as the Department of Transportation has suggested. But clearly, conventional yards require so much space that such development is becoming impossible. Our patented systems require no additional space. On the contrary, these systems free up valuable coastal acreage for redevelopment.

Mr. Tommy Stamer (RIP), was President of Zim American Integrated Shipping Services Co. This exceptionally talented official left U.S. port authorities with a warning that has thus far been ignored. Mr. Stamer analyzed the crisis (or more accurately, crises) in the U.S. transportation system and laid it right on the line when he stated early in 2005:

“I hope there will be changes in 2005, namely in the infrastructure of the U.S. ports and railways. If changes can be made in such a way as to allow a higher turnover of containers in the ports — coupled with the ability to transport these boxes to inland destinations — then our industry will survive. Otherwise, we are going to see ports, more so on the West Coast of the U.S., but also on the East Coast, approach the point where cargo will not be able to go through them, ships will wait outside, schedules will no longer be maintained, and the new ships of 8,000-TEUs-plus will be just another white elephant in the industry.

“So what are the changes that need to be made? We must find a way to build more terminals on the West Coast. We must find a solution for the environmental problem and deal with it. There will be more all-water strings to the U.S., which will mean heavier pressure on the East Coast ports. A way must be found to build more terminals there.

“To build new railways is a project for more than a year or two. Every year the U.S. is importing more containers, with exports on the rise as well. Therefore, without significant changes in the infrastructure, the American people will have to adjust their buying habits by reducing their standard of living or by purchasing more domestic products — products that will reflect the increased cost.

“If I sound a bit pessimistic, it is because I am. We must achieve improvements in port and transport infrastructure.”

Mr Stamer was very clear. The situation calls for immediate and drastic action. But what kind of immediate and drastic action is taking place in Zoo York? Read this article in “Today’s Trucking”.

“New York mayor mulls carbon tax for trucks” (That’s the headline.)

“NEW YORK – As if the parking, tolls, and idling hasn’t already made Manhattan the most expensive city in North America for truckers to deliver to, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability has unveiled a program to deal with the city’s booming population, congestion, and infrastructure capacity.

“The most controversial aspect of the plan includes a carbon tax or ‘congestion pricing,’ which would charge motorists and truckers for driving into congested Manhattan below 86th Street on weekdays during prime business hours.

“Trucks would be charged a hefty $ 21 a day, and car drivers would pay $ 8 between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Officials suggest it would reduce gridlock and emissions while generating cash for other transit projects.

“American Trucking Association spokesman Clayton Boyce told AP that the charge would create problems and expenses for the thousands of shippers and businesses in downtown New York.

“‘It will be a real problem for operations for trucking companies and shippers, including all the retailers in Manhattan, which is substantial,’ said Boyce. ‘And all the people who get FedEx and UPS deliveries will have problems and will bear extra expense, so we definitely see problems in it.’

“Under the plan, a network of cameras that would capture licence plate numbers and either charge a driver’s existing commuter account or generate a bill to be paid, according to AP. The entire proposal also includes pilot projects for testing new fuel technologies, such as hydrogen and plug-in hybrid vehicles; and introducing biodiesel into the city’s truck fleet,”

[Right now, 4 million TEUs passing annually through the Port of NY/NJ are about to slice up the Big Apple. But 19 million TEUs annually at that complex? Those guys must be dreaming.]