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 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 saw record-breaking volumes continue in 2021. The Port handled just under 9 million TEUs in 2021, an increase of nearly 19 percent over the 2020 record of nearly 7.6 million TEUs handled. The volume of cargo moving inland via rail in 2021 grew slightly with almost 709,100 rail lifts handled, a new high. The Port previously set a record for cargo handled by rail in 2020, moving a total of nearly 705,900 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
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Air: During 2021, a year that continued to challenge the aviation and air cargo sectors, Newark Liberty International Airport handled nearly 779,300 of air cargo, an increase of 12 percent over the 695,000 tons of air cargo in 2020. 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 increased to nearly 55,900 tons, a 33 percent increase over 42,000 tons of mail handled in 2020. In 2019, the airport handled over 57,000 tons of mail. In 2021, the three leading airlines in terms of cargo volume were Federal Express, United and UPS. In 2020, the Airport was 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 the first quarter of 2022, northern and central New Jersey had over 860 million square feet of industrial properties, one of the leading concentrations in North America. In addition, 15.4 million sq. ft. of new industrial buildings were under construction in the first quarter. Six new buildings were completed. A total of 26 new buildings were completed in 2021, joining 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 first quarter was dominated by third-party logistics companies, along with retail and wholesale companies. 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
- 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.