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Think big! Modernizing the Port of NY

The port of New York is one of the most important in the world for DB Schenker. It is currently being modernized in an effort to accommodate larger ships and more cargo. A day in the life of the Ocean Freight specialists at DB Schenker.

Towering above the black hull like a rampart is a wall of white containers – order prevails at the stern of the “MSC Federica” on this stifling hot afternoon in Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT).

Gantry wagons with flashing orange lights speed by on their way to the quayside, bringing the last few containers for loading. On the vessel’s port side, a pallet bearing food and other goods for the crew is hoisted up with a winch.

The “MSC Federica” is scheduled to depart in a matter of hours, after which she will head down the East Coast of the United States, through the Panama Canal and along the western coast of South America until she reaches Chile.

PNCT is one of six terminals that make up the Port of New York and New Jersey. For the most part, the Big Apple’s harbor facilities extend along the territory belonging to the southwesterly neighbor New Jersey. With a total transshipment volume of almost 5.5 million TEU in 2013, this is the third-largest container port in the USA behind the West Coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In a global ranking, New York City is listed in 25th place.

Consignments from DB Schenker attribute for around 64,000 TEU of the cargo handled here, and nearly two-thirds of that are imports. “New York is of tremendous importance to us for both import and export,” says Terry Donohoe, Head of Ocean Freight USA at Schenker Inc. Ocean freight plays such a significant role in New York that DB Schenker has built an Ocean Competence Center in Newark, New Jersey, and this is where a dedicated team of specialists handles all issues concerning transport operations on transatlantic routes.

It is of vital concern to the customers of Terry Donohoe and his team that the port of New York City and New Jersey is currently undergoing an extensive modernization program to ensure that it meets the demands of the future. Most recently, the port facilities had been unable to keep pace with the growth of the larger ports.

On the one hand, this was due to the fact that both the trans-Pacific routes and the traffic between Europe and Asia have gained even greater significance than the transatlantic business so crucial to New York. And, on the other hand, it was down to port infrastructure in the Big Apple: four of the six terminals, which together account for around 80 percent of the freight volume, can only be accessed by ships with a maximum capacity of 9,200 TEU. Very often, it is ships like the 4,000-TEU capacity “MSC Federica” which are processed here.

The reason is that in order to get to the four terminals in question, ships must pass under the Bayonne Bridge, a vital roadway between New York City and New Jersey. The steel arch construction, officially opened in 1931, is an imposing sight – and yet its air draft is too low for larger vessels. The roadway is now being raised considerably at a cost of almost one billion euros to the Port Authority. “That will provide a real boost to the port and also to DB Schenker’s business,” says Terry Donohoe. The terminals will then also be open to the Super-Post-Panamax class of ships with a container capacity of up to 12,500 TEU.

Construction work is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2015, quite possibly just at the right time for this will coincide with the opening of the newly widened Panama Canal. Far larger vessels than previously possible can then traverse the canal destined for New York: ships from South America and even from Asia. At present, Asian traffic primarily plays a role for the port as far as exports go, for example, on voyages to India through the Suez Canal.

Things are also happening at the New York terminals themselves, primarily at PNCT. Just a few hundred meters from the “MSC Federica” three new, red-coated container gantry cranes stand glistening in the sun. The trip, which brought them from Shanghai, lasted almost three months. They were transported on a special ship – standing upright, yet “legless” to ensure safe passage under the Bayonne Bridge. These almost 80-meter high behemoths were installed in May and are now ready to handle Super-Post-Panamax vessels.

In addition to the new equipment, the harbor basin has been dredged and deepened, and the freight yard located behind the terminal is undergoing extensive redevelopment work to improve its hinterland connections. In another project, a derelict site with old warehouses will be turned into additional facilities for transshipping containers by truck. This package of measures, totaling around 370 million euros, aims to ensure that by 2019 the terminal’s capacity is almost doubled to well over two million TEU.

The distance from PNCT to the offices of the New York-based ocean freight specialists at DB Schenker is only a few kilometers. The Transatlantic Ocean Competency Center employs a staff of around 50, whereas its transpacific counterpart in Vancouver, Canada, has 200 employees. A third center, which focuses on Latin America, has 30 members of staff based in Miami. “Our Ocean Competency Center concept is based on the strong belief that it is strategically important to provide specialized support and specific trade lane knowledge particularly to major customers,” says Donohoe.

In terms of tonnage, a brewing corporation is a major player for the New York office, which handles both exports and imports for its customer. The same goes for a pharmaceutical and consumer goods manufacturer. Other major industries include the machine tool sector and white goods as well as the retail trade and, primarily with regard to exports, the timber industry. Donohoe says, “When you support one of our major customers, you are dealing with him on a daily basis.” He knows exactly what this calls for: a big plus in times when deliveries are precisely scheduled even for those consignments that spend the main leg of their journey at sea. After all, large enterprises tend to keep their inventory levels low.

Screenshot 2015-01-22 15.06.31

Regardless of whether the customer is a major player or a company that consigns only a handful of containers per month, since 2012 all bookings throughout North America have been handled by these three competency centers. In total, DB Schenker has more than 30 Ocean Freight branch offices located throughout the USA and Canada. “They remain in close contact with their customers, but the freight capacities for transatlantic consignments are booked from New York City,” says Donohoe.

Among other things, the central booking desks allow for improved carrier management, which pays off in emergency situations. “If, for example, a carrier in Chicago has a shortage of containers, then we here in New York have immediate access to alternative sources, without us and the customers having to compromise in terms of conditions.”

The work carried out at the booking desks exemplifies the fact that the ocean freight specialists at DB Schenker do a great deal more than simply handling transportation. “It is more and more about providing expertise,” says Terry Donohoe – for example, in the context of government regulations in the USA, which were significantly tightened following the events of September 11. “The customs authorities require comprehensive information on each shipment, even before the ship has actually departed.” This is dealt with by the Compliance Team in New York. Other countries often have specific provisions, and these are handled by specialists in the Route Development Team. Tasks that are playing an increasingly important role also include analyzing complete supply chains and implementing new solutions.

Transport, however, remains at the heart of the company’s business – and in the case of Ocean Freight, this also includes ensuring the most efficient hinterland connections. Managing the transport of part-load consignments by truck in New York City and throughout the United States is the primary job of DB Schenker. Admittedly, long distances to and from the container terminal are usually covered by rail. Traditionally, this is the responsibility of the carrier – as is transshipment in the port.

“Our business is primarily organizing the last mile by truck,” says Terry Donohoe. In actual fact, this last mile from the rail ramp to the recipient by truck can often be as long as several hundred miles. Transporting shipments across the United States highways is mainly the job of haulage companies who are contractually bound to DB Schenker. Very often, the “last mile” does not begin somewhere in the country’s heartland but in New York – more specifically: in Newark. The building complex which houses the Transatlantic Ocean Competency Center also comprises a warehouse featuring 20 truck-docks.

In emergencies, when weather conditions cause long delays for ships, the experts also organize transloading as an additional service. “This means that part-load traffic or even entire containers, which were originally scheduled to be forwarded by rail, are instead loaded onto trucks at the port and transported to the consignee. It’s faster,” says Donohoe.

On this sweltering hot day, everything proceeds as planned: two ocean freight containers are being loaded with boxes of cable drums and other equipment on behalf of an Israeli electronics wholesaler – awaiting transport to Israel. “This is what is known as a buyer’s consolidation: we are responsible for ensuring that the goods from the various suppliers are delivered to us by truck before they are consolidated and prepared for transshipment by sea,” Terry Donohoe explains. The packages have been surrounded by large air cushions to protect them from shock and vibration, and the two typically American long-hooded trucks are now ready to drive off – destination PNCT.

Growth stimuli for New York Although a global ranking lists the Port of New York and New Jersey in 25th place, the container port is the third-largest in the USA. As such, it is of extreme importance for DB Schenker. When the new Panama Canal opens in 2015, more ocean freight from the Far East could be routed via New York. As a result, and because ocean freight is still showing an upward trend, the terminals are currently undergoing modernization. One such example is Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT), which is responsible for around 20 percent of New York’s transshipment volume and which has recently been equipped with larger container gantry cranes weighing 1,500 metric tons. DB Schenker’s operational activities at PNCT include transporting imported freight by truck to the customers, quite a number of whom are located several hundred miles in the hinterland.

The people working at DB Schenker Ocean Freight are ambitious professionals – whether they are based in New York as specialists managing transports across the Atlantic or in Hamburg organizing deliveries from India and China to the living accessories retailer Boltze or indeed anywhere around the world at one of well over 100 maritime freight locations. They all ensure that DB Schenker continues to enjoy above-average growth. And yet, those who strive for success today need more than just ambition, commitment and good handling: customized solutions for key industries are as much a part of this as an IT system that optimally maps processes for customers, service providers and customs authorities. Furthermore, intelligent handling of the market’s sharp volatility is also required. Although freight rates in general are under pressure owing to an overcapacity of tonnage, they recurrently experience a spike once demand on a route rallies. To counter this, DB Schenker initiates planning at an early stage with its customers and fosters relationships based on partnerships with the shipping companies.

Customer orientation at its best in the Big Apple DB Schenker has a team of around 50 employees in New York specializing in transatlantic transports. Terry Donohoe, a native Briton, is responsible for the ocean freight activities of DB Schenker across the USA.

Shorter time slots, larger vessels Lay times in ports must be kept as short as possible, which is why the containers aboard the “MSC Federica” are discharged quickly. With its capacity of 4,000 TEU, the vessel belongs to a smaller class of freighters. By the end of 2015 the port plans to accommodate 12,500-TEU container giants. Apart from the Mediterranean Shipping Company, DB Schenker cooperates with around 20 other carriers at the Port of New York and New Jersey, among them Maersk, CMA CGM and Hapag Lloyd.

PNCT is one of six terminals that make up the Port of New York and New Jersey. For the most part, the Big Apple’s harbor facilities extend along the territory belonging to the southwesterly neighbor New Jersey. With a total transshipment volume of almost 5.5 million TEU in 2013, this is the third-largest container port in the USA behind the West Coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In a global ranking, New York City is listed in 25th place.

It is of vital concern to the customers of Terry Donohoe and his team that the port of New York City and New Jersey is currently undergoing an extensive modernization program to ensure that it meets the demands of the future. Most recently, the port facilities had been unable to keep pace with the growth of the larger ports.

On the one hand, this was due to the fact that both the trans-Pacific routes and the traffic between Europe and Asia have gained even greater significance than the transatlantic business so crucial to New York. And, on the other hand, it was down to port infrastructure in the Big Apple: four of the six terminals, which together account for around 80 percent of the freight volume, can only be accessed by ships with a maximum capacity of 9,200 TEU. Very often, it is ships like the 4,000-TEU capacity “MSC Federica” which are processed here.

The reason is that in order to get to the four terminals in question, ships must pass under the Bayonne Bridge, a vital roadway between New York City and New Jersey. The steel arch construction, officially opened in 1931, is an imposing sight – and yet its air draft is too low for larger vessels. The roadway is now being raised considerably at a cost of almost one billion euros to the Port Authority. “That will provide a real boost to the port and also to DB Schenker’s business,” says Terry Donohoe. The terminals will then also be open to the Super-Post-Panamax class of ships with a container capacity of up to 12,500 TEU.

Construction work is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2015, quite possibly just at the right time for this will coincide with the opening of the newly widened Panama Canal. Far larger vessels than previously possible can then traverse the canal destined for New York: ships from South America and even from Asia. At present, Asian traffic primarily plays a role for the port as far as exports go, for example, on voyages to India through the Suez Canal.

Things are also happening at the New York terminals themselves, primarily at PNCT. Just a few hundred meters from the “MSC Federica” three new, red-coated container gantry cranes stand glistening in the sun. The trip, which brought them from Shanghai, lasted almost three months. They were transported on a special ship – standing upright, yet “legless” to ensure safe passage under the Bayonne Bridge. These almost 80-meter high behemoths were installed in May and are now ready to handle Super-Post-Panamax vessels.

In addition to the new equipment, the harbor basin has been dredged and deepened, and the freight yard located behind the terminal is undergoing extensive redevelopment work to improve its hinterland connections. In another project, a derelict site with old warehouses will be turned into additional facilities for transshipping containers by truck. This package of measures, totaling around 370 million euros, aims to ensure that by 2019 the terminal’s capacity is almost doubled to well over two million TEU.

The distance from PNCT to the offices of the New York-based ocean freight specialists at DB Schenker is only a few kilometers. The Transatlantic Ocean Competency Center employs a staff of around 50, whereas its transpacific counterpart in Vancouver, Canada, has 200 employees. A third center, which focuses on Latin America, has 30 members of staff based in Miami. “Our Ocean Competency Center concept is based on the strong belief that it is strategically important to provide specialized support and specific trade lane knowledge particularly to major customers,” says Donohoe.

Screenshot 2015-01-22 15.05.43

In terms of tonnage, a brewing corporation is a major player for the New York office, which handles both exports and imports for its customer. The same goes for a pharmaceutical and consumer goods manufacturer. Other major industries include the machine tool sector and white goods as well as the retail trade and, primarily with regard to exports, the timber industry. Donohoe says, “When you support one of our major customers, you are dealing with him on a daily basis.” He knows exactly what this calls for: a big plus in times when deliveries are precisely scheduled even for those consignments that spend the main leg of their journey at sea. After all, large enterprises tend to keep their inventory levels low.

Regardless of whether the customer is a major player or a company that consigns only a handful of containers per month, since 2012 all bookings throughout North America have been handled by these three competency centers. In total, DB Schenker has more than 30 Ocean Freight branch offices located throughout the USA and Canada. “They remain in close contact with their customers, but the freight capacities for transatlantic consignments are booked from New York City,” says Donohoe.

Among other things, the central booking desks allow for improved carrier management, which pays off in emergency situations. “If, for example, a carrier in Chicago has a shortage of containers, then we here in New York have immediate access to alternative sources, without us and the customers having to compromise in terms of conditions.”

The work carried out at the booking desks exemplifies the fact that the ocean freight specialists at DB Schenker do a great deal more than simply handling transportation. “It is more and more about providing expertise,” says Terry Donohoe – for example, in the context of government regulations in the USA, which were significantly tightened following the events of September 11. “The customs authorities require comprehensive information on each shipment, even before the ship has actually departed.” This is dealt with by the Compliance Team in New York. Other countries often have specific provisions, and these are handled by specialists in the Route Development Team. Tasks that are playing an increasingly important role also include analyzing complete supply chains and implementing new solutions.

Transport, however, remains at the heart of the company’s business – and in the case of Ocean Freight, this also includes ensuring the most efficient hinterland connections. Managing the transport of part-load consignments by truck in New York City and throughout the United States is the primary job of DB Schenker. Admittedly, long distances to and from the container terminal are usually covered by rail. Traditionally, this is the responsibility of the carrier – as is transshipment in the port.

“Our business is primarily organizing the last mile by truck,” says Terry Donohoe. In actual fact, this last mile from the rail ramp to the recipient by truck can often be as long as several hundred miles. Transporting shipments across the United States highways is mainly the job of haulage companies who are contractually bound to DB Schenker. Very often, the “last mile” does not begin somewhere in the country’s heartland but in New York – more specifically: in Newark. The building complex which houses the Transatlantic Ocean Competency Center also comprises a warehouse featuring 20 truck-docks.

In emergencies, when weather conditions cause long delays for ships, the experts also organize transloading as an additional service. “This means that part-load traffic or even entire containers, which were originally scheduled to be forwarded by rail, are instead loaded onto trucks at the port and transported to the consignee. It’s faster,” says Donohoe.

On this sweltering hot day, everything proceeds as planned: two ocean freight containers are being loaded with boxes of cable drums and other equipment on behalf of an Israeli electronics wholesaler – awaiting transport to Israel. “This is what is known as a buyer’s consolidation: we are responsible for ensuring that the goods from the various suppliers are delivered to us by truck before they are consolidated and prepared for transshipment by sea,” Terry Donohoe explains. The packages have been surrounded by large air cushions to protect them from shock and vibration, and the two typically American long-hooded trucks are now ready to drive off – destination PNCT.

Growth stimuli for New York Although a global ranking lists the Port of New York and New Jersey in 25th place, the container port is the third-largest in the USA. As such, it is of extreme importance for DB Schenker. When the new Panama Canal opens in 2015, more ocean freight from the Far East could be routed via New York. As a result, and because ocean freight is still showing an upward trend, the terminals are currently undergoing modernization. One such example is Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT), which is responsible for around 20 percent of New York’s transshipment volume and which has recently been equipped with larger container gantry cranes weighing 1,500 metric tons. DB Schenker’s operational activities at PNCT include transporting imported freight by truck to the customers, quite a number of whom are located several hundred miles in the hinterland.

The people working at DB Schenker Ocean Freight are ambitious professionals – whether they are based in New York as specialists managing transports across the Atlantic or in Hamburg organizing deliveries from India and China to the living accessories retailer Boltze or indeed anywhere around the world at one of well over 100 maritime freight locations. They all ensure that DB Schenker continues to enjoy above-average growth. And yet, those who strive for success today need more than just ambition, commitment and good handling: customized solutions for key industries are as much a part of this as an IT system that optimally maps processes for customers, service providers and customs authorities. Furthermore, intelligent handling of the market’s sharp volatility is also required. Although freight rates in general are under pressure owing to an overcapacity of tonnage, they recurrently experience a spike once demand on a route rallies. To counter this, DB Schenker initiates planning at an early stage with its customers and fosters relationships based on partnerships with the shipping companies.

Customer orientation at its best in the Big Apple DB Schenker has a team of around 50 employees in New York specializing in transatlantic transports. Terry Donohoe, a native Briton, is responsible for the ocean freight activities of DB Schenker across the USA.

Shorter time slots, larger vessels Lay times in ports must be kept as short as possible, which is why the containers aboard the “MSC Federica” are discharged quickly. With its capacity of 4,000 TEU, the vessel belongs to a smaller class of freighters. By the end of 2015 the port plans to accommodate 12,500-TEU container giants. Apart from the Mediterranean Shipping Company, DB Schenker cooperates with around 20 other carriers at the Port of New York and New Jersey, among them Maersk, CMA CGM and Hapag Lloyd.

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