Regional Programs

Freight

"Freight by the Numbers" chartThe NJTPA region is the platform for the distribution of goods to one of the largest and richest consumer markets on earth. This encompasses the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan area and much of the mid-Atlantic and New England states. The region is also a leading US international gateway with the largest port on the Atlantic Coast and one of the largest air cargo operations in the US.

The 2050 Freight Industry Level Forecasts Study developed updated information on current and projected freight demand through 2050 for use in the freight planning activities of the NJTPA. The Implications of the Pandemic for the NJTPA Region’s Supply Chains and Freight System Report provides information on how this global health emergency has affected and could affect the NJTPA region in the future.

The region’s freight system includes:

Port: Northern New Jersey is the home of the largest container port on the Atlantic seaboard and the second largest in North America after the combined Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The seaport is seeing record-breaking volumes in 2021. In November 2021, the Port handled 759,390 TEUs (20-foot equivalent container units). As of November 2021, the Port has handled over 8.2 million TEUs, an increase of nearly 20 percent over 2020 volumes.  During the whole of 2020, the Port of New York and New Jersey handled a total of nearly 7.6 million TEUs.  The Port has already exceeded that volume in 2021.  The volume of cargo moving inland via rail in 2021 through November is slightly higher than during the same time period in 2020, with 653,842 rail lifts.  In 2020, the Port set an all-time record for cargo handled by rail, moving a total of 705,895 containers by rail. Source: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

The Port of New York and New Jersey continues to serve as an integral part of the economic performance of the region. According to the 2020 Economic Impact Study undertaken by NJTPA as a member of the Council on Port Performance, the port industry grew substantially, supporting over 500,000 jobs and $147 billion in economic activity, including federal and state tax revenue, business and personal income.

Rail: Northern New Jersey is served by two Class I railroads—CSX and Norfolk Southern. This system includes the Conrail Shared Assets Area, extensive on- and near-dock rail operations that serve the Port, and several short line railroads. Overall, the State of New Jersey handled 53.7 million tons of rail freight in 2019. Source:  NJDOT

NJTPA Freight Planning Tools

Freight Activity Locator logo Goods Movement Strategies for Communities tool logo
Click on the icons above to access the interactive tools.

Air: During 2020, a year that significantly affected aviation, Newark Liberty International Airport handled over 695,000 tons of air cargo, a decrease of nearly 16 percent from the previous year.  The Airport handled nearly 825,000 tons in 2019, 848,000 tons in 2018, 823,000 tons in 2017 and 747,000 tons in 2016. The movement of mail declined 27 percent to over 42,000 tons in 2020 compared with over 57,000 tons in 2019.  In 2020, the three leading airlines in terms of cargo volume were Federal Express, United and UPS.  In 2020, the Airport was preliminarily ranked as the 16th largest air cargo airport in North America. Sources: Federal Aviation Administration and Port Authority of NY and NJ

Trucking: Trucking moves the most freight in the NJTPA region. More than 78 percent of the total 372 million tons of goods moved in the region were handled by trucks.  Source:  NJTPA 2050 Freight Industry Level Forecasts Study.

Industrial Properties: As of the end of 2021, northern and central New Jersey had over 857 million square feet of industrial properties, one of the leading concentrations in North America. In addition, 13.3 million sq. ft. of new industrial buildings were under construction at the end of the year. A total of 26 new buildings were completed in 2021. These 26 buildings are in addition to the 31 buildings added each year in 2018, 2019, and 2020, along with the 45 new industrial buildings completed in 2017. Leasing activity during the quarter was dominated by retail/wholesale companies and third-party logistics companies. No specifically ecommerce company leases were executed during the 4th quarter. A slowdown in leasing activity due to a lack of available space and rapidly escalating prices was reported. Source: CBRE

 

Trucks parked outside a warehouseFreight planning activities at the NJTPA are guided by the Freight Initiatives Committee. Meetings of the committee serve as a forum for discussion of regional freight issues. The committee makes recommendations on action items to be considered by the full NJTPA Board of Trustees. The committee meets bimonthly. Its meetings are open to the public.

You can sign-up for notices of freight-related news, events and meetings through the NJTPA E-list.

Current and recently completed NJTPA freight planning initiatives are listed below. Past initiatives can be found on the NJTPA Studies page:

 

Current Projects & Studies
  • Freight Rail Grade Crossing Assessment Update
    This consultant-supported assessment commenced with a kick-off meeting on Dec. 7. The study is scheduled for completion by June 2023. The study seeks to update an assessment completed by NJTPA in 2008 to address the impacts of freight rail traffic along the region’s major freight rail lines.  This traffic continues to increase in number and length of daily trains. This traffic creates increased delays at grade crossings and raises issues of safety and quality of life in those communities where these crossings are located. The study will score and prioritize the grade crossings in terms of need and develop recommendations for addressing issues at the top 10 grade crossings.
  • FY2021 Freight Concept Development Program Studies
    This FY2021 funded consultant activity will complete two concept development studies for: the Berkshire Valley Road Truck Circulation Project in Roxbury, Morris County; and the Port Reading Secondary South Main Street Grade Crossing Elimination Project in Bound Brook, Somerset County. The studies are scheduled for completion in June of 2023.
  • Truck Parking Study

    Truck parking shortages are local, regional and national safety concerns. Concerns on safety impacts of such shortage have risen with the implementation of the federally mandated Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) in 2017, which digitally monitor truck drivers’ compliance with the Hours-of-Service regulations. In North Jersey, truck parking shortages were first identified in the North Jersey Truck Rest Stop Study, completed in 2008, and continue to be recognized as a major issue affecting the safety and efficiency of freight movement in this region.