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NJ Port Congestion Have Angered Drayage Drivers

The New Jersey Motor Truck Association is working with New York-New Jersey container terminals to ease problems that cause congestion and delays that have angered drayage drivers 

Association representatives met this week with officials of all port terminals to share drivers’ complaints and discuss ways to make the terminals operate more smoothly.

“All parties understand how devastating the congestion has been on our port drivers. The goal is to increase efficiencies to reduce the queue times and to promote a better workplace environment,” the association said in a statement.

Port drivers endured hours-long truck queues and long turn times through much of last year because of terminals’ computer problems, longshore labor shortages, and construction in and around terminals.

Delays spiked again in January as a series of winter storms slowed terminals’ efforts to clear cargo backlogs that accumulated over the holidays. Drivers have become increasingly restive, with some using social media to suggest protests.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has formed an industry task force to recommend ways to improve the port’s performance. The task force is scheduled to report in June.

The New Jersey Motor Truck Association, the state affiliate of the American Trucking Associations, said its representatives and terminals discussed changes that could be implemented more quickly.

The association summarized several of the possible changes:

  • Better information and communication: The association said each terminal committed to providing a daily report and alerts to the association and to the Port Driver Facebook page for posting. “”Some of the terminals now have apps that can be downloaded to smart phones. This information will also be sent out.”
  • Chassis updates: Drivers have complained of chronic shortages of containers at some terminals. The association asked terminals to provide morning and mid-day updates on the number of chassis available.
  • Traffic assistance and control: Drivers complained that they’re forced to jockey for position at crowded points inside terminals. The association said it asked terminals to control traffic inside the terminal to ease congestion.
  • Better maintenance of terminal equipment: This would include phones and buzzers that drivers complain make it difficult to share information with terminal personnel.

Improved customer service:

Drivers say they often endure lengthy waits for lifting equipment and have no way to ensure they haven’t been overlooked. The association recommended that each terminal have a roving “trouble truck” that could handle drivers’ questions and problems.

Joseph Bonney, Senior Editor
Jan 31, 2014 8:08PM ES