The 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 recently completed 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 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. In 2019, the Port of New York and New Jersey handled nearly 7.5 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent containers), a four percent increase over 2018. The cargo growth was bolstered by a 2.6 percent increase in imported goods including clothing, furniture, electronics and other everyday products over the previous record for imports set in 2018. Nearly 30 percent of all containerized cargo at the port is now carried on vessels with the capacity to handle 9,000 or more TEUs – the size vessel that could not transit under the old Bayonne Bridge prior to the completion of the Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Project in June of 2017. The Port also set a new all-time record for cargo handled by rail, moving 664,987 containers by rail, up three percent over the previous record set in 2018. 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 50.9 million tons of rail freight in 2017. Source: Association of American Railroads.
NJTPA Freight Planning Tools
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Air: Newark Liberty International Airport handled nearly 825,000 tons of air cargo in 2019. The Airport handled 848,000 tons in 2018, 823,000 tons in 2017 and 747,000 tons in 2016. The movement of mail also grew slightly from 2018 with over 57,000 tons in 2019. In comparison, the Airport handled almost 56,000 tons in 2017 and nearly 46,000 tons in 2016. In 2019, the three leading airlines in terms of cargo volume were Federal Express, United and UPS. In 2018, the Airport was the 11th ranked air cargo airport in North America and 37th in the World. Sources: Airports Council International and Port Authority of NY and NJ
Trucking: Trucking moves the most freight in New Jersey and the NJTPA region. In New Jersey, 75 percent of goods moved—over 450 million tons—were handled by trucks. Source: New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Industrial Properties: As of the 2nd quarter of 2020, northern and central New Jersey had over 840 million square feet of industrial properties, one of the leading concentrations in North America. Nearly half of the buildings leased during this quarter were for e-commerce operations. Completions, totaling 1.6 million square feet in five buildings in central New Jersey, were added in the 2nd quarter. Accordingly, the first half of 2020 saw the addition of nine buildings. A total of 31 new buildings were also added in both 2019 and 2018, along with 45 new industrial buildings completed in 2017. In the 2nd quarter of 2020, 15.4 million square feet of new space was under construction in 42 buildings. Source: CBRE
Freight 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
- Pilot Freight Concept Development Program
This consultant activity will establish a process for advancing regional and local freight initiatives that have been identified through planning studies conducted by NJTPA subregions, planning partners and NJTPA Central Staff—consistent with federal guidelines and the Project Delivery Process implemented by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). Two pilot projects have been selected for this initial Program Development and Pilot Study Phase: Dover and Rockaway Rail Realignment Project; Hackettstown Bridge over Drain Weight Restriction Elimination Project.
- 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.