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New York Works: De Blasio Administration Launches Freight NYC, A $100M Plan to Modernize New York City's Freight Distribution System

July 16, 2018

NEW YORK – Today, the de Blasio Administration, federal, state and local elected officials, and industry experts unveiled Freight NYC, a $100 million plan to overhaul the city’s aging freight distribution systems through strategic investments to modernize our maritime and rail assets and create new distribution facilities, with the ultimate goals of creating nearly 5,000 good-paying jobs for New Yorkers and a more sustainable and resilient supply chain network.

“Freight NYC is an investment in our city’s future,” said Mayor de Blasio. “By modernizing our approach to shipping, we will create thousands of good-paying while keeping our streets safer and cleaner.”

The Freight NYC plan is available here.

Our City depends on crucial but aging marine, rail and highway infrastructure and relies upon trucks to move nearly 90% of freight. As the City’s population continues to grow and consumers increasingly demand near-instant deliveries, local freight volumes will grow an estimated 68% by 2045, further choking traffic and impeding commerce. This challenge is particularly acute in the “last mile” of distribution, in which trucks bring goods from port facilities and central warehouses, often located in neighboring states like New Jersey, to consumers over city streets and arteries.

“Freight NYC is one of the most ambitious re-imaginings of how 8.5 million New Yorkers – and the tens of millions more in our region – share, sell, and buy the goods that keep our economy thriving,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen. “It will modernize our shipping sector, strengthen our economy, and improve the air we breathe.”

“Freight NYC will better equip New York City to meet 21st-century demand by modernizing the city’s freight infrastructure, reducing truck traffic and improving air quality --while creating nearly 5,000 good-paying jobs in the process,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “This plan is a win-win for our environment and economy, and we will continue to work with our partners in government, sister agencies and industry stakeholders to transform the City’s freight distribution system and create a more sustainable and resilient supply chain.”

Last year alone, traffic congestion cost the local economy $862M, hurting local businesses and impeding commerce. Through Freight NYC, the de Blasio Administration and its partners are acting to protect the environment, traffic systems, and regional economy in the decades to come.

In addition to investing in existing maritime and rail assets, the City will work with private partners to build new modern distribution, transload, and warehousing facilities, and to promote and incentivize the use of environmentally-friendly green trucks for last mile delivery. In total, Freight NYC will remove 15,000 vehicles’ worth of CO2 per year, ultimately helping to improve air quality and reduce asthma rates.

The Freight NYC plan leverages three key strategies to modernize and strengthen the City’s freight distribution industry for the 21st-century:

  1. Investing in Multimodal Infrastructure
    Working with the Port Authority of NY & NJ, the City will invest in marine terminals and barging operations, and support the modernization and expansion of rail lines and freight facilities, creating approximately 900 jobs. Highlights of these efforts include:
    • Developing a barge terminal to serve the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center in the Bronx, allowing produce and other food products to reach Hunts Point by water, rather than by truck.
    • Constructing a barge terminal at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park to connect Brooklyn’s consumer base to the new barge network.
    • Reactivating underutilized rail lines by constructing new transload facilities within the existing rights-of-way and new passing lanes to alleviate track congestion
  1. Creating New Freight Distribution Hubs
    Through public-private partnerships, the City will develop new distribution, warehousing and transload facilities to meet increasing demand. This will help ensure the City can sustain the demands of its growing population, while creating secondary pathways to move goods in the event of adverse climate impact and other major disruptions. Highlights of these efforts include:
    • On July 20th, NYCEDC will release a request for proposal (RFP) for a private partner to build an Urban Distribution Center at the Brooklyn Army Terminal that is at least 500,000 square feet, estimated to create 500 jobs in Sunset Park.
    • NYCEDC will release an RFP next week for a 4-acre site near JFK Airport to develop an air cargo and distribution facility that will help meet the needs of current businesses while ensuring the efficient flow of airport goods and maintaining JFK’s position as a leading international freight destination
  1. Promoting the Use of Clean Trucks, Reinforcing 2015 Clean Fleet Goals
    The City, led by the New York City Department of Transportation, will encourage the deployment of cutting-edge and emission-free trucks on city streets for last mile delivery, which will help advance the Mayor’s goal of reducing 80% of gas emissions by 2050. Highlights of these efforts include:
    • Supporting the expansion of the NYCDOTs Hunts Point Clean Trucks Program to other truck hubs and Industrial Business Zones. The program offers a rebate to applicants that replace, retrofit, or retire older, heavy-polluting diesel trucks
    • Supporting the development of clean fuel infrastructure in freight hubs, including sites for compressed natural gas and electric charging, while promoting truck safety measures to help meet NYCDOT’s Vision Zero goals.
    • Piloting initiatives for tenants in City-owned properties to green their own supply chains through logistics consolidation, carbon-neutral shipping, and use of clean vehicles

Freight NYC compliments NYCDOT’s Smart Truck Management Plan, which DOT will release later this year to guide shorter-term freight planning and management, focusing more directly on improving the effectiveness of the 90 percent of goods that move by truck in New York City.

“The New York region needs a better way to move goods, plain and simple. On this, there is overwhelming consensus. We must end our over-reliance on trucks that clog and destroy our roads, make the cost of doing business and consumer goods more expensive, harms our environment, raises childhood asthma rates, and creates safety and national security vulnerabilities,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “Today’s announcement of Freight NYC by Deputy Mayor Glen, which will involve making key investments in maritime and rail infrastructure is the first step in finally addressing this very serious problem, and I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his dedication to this freight plan and for his support of the Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel project, which is the long-term freight solution for our region, and which is currently undergoing a Tier II EIS analysis by the Port Authority.”

“A city with our robust waterways and railways shouldn’t be moving 90% of cargo by truck,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “With smart investment and good, well-paying jobs, Freight NYC will lift New York City’s economy while lowering traffic and pollution.”

“Freight transportation is the lifeblood that keeps New York’s economy growing. Freight NYC presents a sound long-term strategy for boosting the effectiveness of New York City’s freight systems while reducing their adverse effects on the environment and communities, especially by exploring ways of improving rail and marine transportation,” said Michael Replogle, Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the New York City Department of Transportation. “This new EDC report is an important complement to the New York City Department of Transportation’s Smart Truck Management Plan, which we will release later this year as a guide for shorter-term freight planning and management, focusing more directly on improving the effectiveness of the 90 percent of goods that move by truck in New York City.”

By partnering with sister agencies and industry partners, non-profits, and schools, NYCEDC is preparing and training the next generation of New Yorkers to help fill the nearly 5,000 modern industrial and logistical jobs that stand to be created through implementation of Freight NYC. Currently, there are over 300,000 of these types of jobs throughout the city that rely on efficient and productive functioning freight assets like airports, marine terminals, highways, and railyards. On average, jobs in the maritime, rail, distribution, and logistics pay a starting salary of $50,000 a year or more and provide a solid, often union-supported, career path.

Announced in 2017, Freight NYC is a critical component of Mayor de Blasio’s New York Works plan to create 100,000 good-paying jobs over the next ten years. The plan focuses on creation accessible jobs in tech, industrial, creative, life sciences, and healthcare sectors. Click here for a one-year progress report of the New York Works plan, which is putting New York City on track to accomplish the de Blasio Administration’s goal by 2027.

“This new forward-thinking plan to modernize our City’s freight infrastructure will create high-quality jobs and bolster local businesses while improving our environment. Put simply, the more freight that can move by water and rail, the fewer vehicle miles traveled by trucks on our roads and bridges,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez. “The outline being unveiled today will help meet the needs of a cleaner and stronger New York. I am proud to support the Mayor in this effort and will continue championing federal dollars to further integrate New York into our nation’s marine highway.”

"I applaud the New York City Economic Development Corp's (EDC) commitment to sustaining and expanding opportunities for industrial, manufacturing and maritime industries. I fully support EDC’s initiatives to modernize and reactivate our freight and marine infrastructure in order to facilitate the distribution of goods locally, regionally and nationally. I am pleased that EDC will be partnering with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Sandy Hook Pilots Association, the LIRR, private industry and local stakeholders such Industry City and Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corp,” said Senator Velmanette Montgomery.

“Transporting freight by maritime and rail will reduce traffic congestion and create jobs for the World's Greatest City,” said Council Member and Chair of the City Council Committee on Economic Development, Paul A. Vallone.

“Today we move forward in restoring South Brooklyn’s historic role as a leader in waterfront manufacturing and industrial services,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “The plan outlined by EDC today will request for proposal to create a new center in Sunset Park to act as a hub for receiving goods coming into American ports and distributing them throughout the city. Doing so will not only reduce city-wide freight truck traffic dramatically, but allow us to utilize smaller, more efficient trucks that use greener fuels and technology. At the same time, local residents will be given preference for the 500 good-paying jobs at the center. This is a bold, historic, and locally sensitive plan that will benefit the City for years to come. Moving forward, we must ensure the community is engaged at all stages to maximize the benefits to our neighborhood of Sunset Park.”

“Increasing the movement of freight by rail is critical to this region, and this plan represents an important step in advancing this critical initiative,” said Molly Campbell, Director, Port Department. “The planned initiatives complement strategic Port Authority, federal, and New York State investments into improving and modernizing the region’s freight network, with a strong focus of leveraging underutilized rail and maritime assets. We look forward to further supporting and collaborating with the City of New York and NYCEDC to help advance their efforts into the future.”

“Freight NYC at its heart is a regional strategy for better managing the enormous volume of freight that passes into, out of and through New York City. For years RPA has advocated policies to better balance those flows so that commerce can flow better, economies can flourish, and environmental burdens can be reduced. By emphasizing multimodal solutions, Freight NYC is taking bold steps to realize this vision. RPA applauds Deputy Mayor Glen and EDC President James Patchett on today’s announcement,” said Tom Wright, President of Regional Plan Association.

“We support the Freight NYC initiative, which would expand American-flag shipping. We are longtime backers of short-sea shipping and believe this project will help kickstart it. We’re especially excited about the potential for job growth in the U.S.-flag maritime sector,” said Joseph Soresi, VP of the Seafarers International Union.

“For decades, our freight system has been flawed: too reliant on a few cross-Hudson entry points, too dependent on trucks that clog our city roads and highways, and too polluting, particularly in communities of color,” said Nick Sifuentes, Executive Director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "We are encouraged by Freight NYC and its shift toward cleaner, multi-modal alternatives, and are thankful that the City is taking the issue of freight mobility seriously and working to better integrate the region's freight network with the rest of the country."

“Freight NYC is will transform New York City’s freight infrastructure and create thousands of jobs in the growing field of logistics and supply chain management. The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) New York City’s Roundtable is excited and proud to support this initiative through our local events and educational resources,” said Suzanne Richer, President, CSCMP NYC Roundtable.

“Ports America strongly supports the Freight NYC plan and the City’s commitment to enhancing the utilization of our waterways, which are essential to moving cargo efficiently, cost-effectively, and sustainably. As a significant employer and operator in the New York Harbor, we welcome this effort to strengthen maritime commerce,” said Jim Pelliccio, Executive Vice President of Operations, Ports America.

"As a premier transportation provider, CSX plays a critical role in a sustainable supply chain that supports nearly every sector of the region's economy. We proudly deliver construction materials, food products, retail consumer goods and other materials on which New Yorkers rely. CSX looks forward to engaging the City about its plans to modernize NYC's freight rail network,” said Rodney J. Oglesby, Resident Vice President, PA-NJ-NYC, State Relations CSX Transportation.

“On behalf of the Towboat & Harbor Carriers Committee, we applaud the de Blasio Administration’s far-sighted and comprehensive Freight NYC strategy. Focus on marine transportation’s benefits is long overdue. With 8 million residents and over 500 miles of coastline and natural connections to freight hubs along the US Atlantic Coast, the City of New York can greatly benefit from the adoption of marine highway solutions to highway congestion.,” said Eric Johansson, Executive Director, Towboat & Harbor Carriers Committee. “The Administration’s commitment to investment in new facilities in the Bronx and Brooklyn as well as deep commitment to maritime facilities in Staten Island, provides a needed catalyst for regional barging. Our members – most of whom are based in New York City – stand ready, willing, and able to assist in creating new, sustainable and job-intensive transportation options for the 21st century.”

“NY&A welcomes the release of Freight NYC to promote the development of sustainable rail freight infrastructure in New York City. We are committed to collaborative efforts to advance rail transload investments in Brooklyn and Queens. Those investments will ensure overall truck miles travelled are reduced to help alleviate regional and local traffic congestion. For every rail car travelling in the City, we are taking four trucks off of City streets. These investments will create good paying jobs for New Yorkers,” said James Bonner, President, NY & Atlantic Railway.

“Not only is Freight NYC a bold vision for the future of freight transportation in New York, it provides tangible short-term investment in vital maritime and rail infrastructure. Red Hook Container Terminal proudly stands with the Administration and looks forward to joint efforts to activate the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal to create excellent jobs, connect the City to the global economy, reduce highway congestion and improve air quality,” said Mike Stamatis, President and CEO, Red Hook Container Terminal, LLC.

“JFK air cargo is a key economic driver for NYC. Innovation, technology, smart deployment of natural resources and vison will ensure JFK Airport is the airport of choice for the northeastern USA,” said Brian C. Wills, President, Sobel Network Shipping Co, Inc. “Our core business, freight forwarding and Customs clearance, is dependent on the efficient movement of cargo and is key to our growth and competitiveness. Looking forward to the details.”

“The Long Island Import Export Association’s mission since 1982 has been to educate the international community with the goal of a safe and productive logistics flow. The importance of a robust freight network will enable companies in the supply chain to effectively plan for accurate transportation of freight. The LIIEA members are part of this supply chain with logistics providers, importers & exporters whose success depends on an infrastructure that enhances delivery,” said Patti Stoff, Managing Director, Long Island Import Export Association (LIIEA).

“D&M Lumber is a business that relies on multimodal transportation, like rail and maritime. Both are inherently better for the environment, and take trucks off of City streets. We are excited the City is pushing for these investments to strengthen the City’s supply chain,” said Steven Packin, President, D&M Lumber.

“Freight and related industries provide good paying jobs to working families, regardless of education level. As other blue collar industries have waned, transportation continues to grow. Today’s announcement shows that New York City is committed to creating jobs here for New York workers,” said George Miranda, President, Teamsters Joint Council 16.

“New York’s preeminence as a business capital is a direct consequence of its ports, and Freight NYC is a critical part of ongoing sea change. Focusing on waterborne freight is an excellent strategy for improving how we move goods through our region, and Waterfront Alliance salutes the de Blasio administration for building on the success of NYC Ferry in returning to our waterways. We are also proud to partner with the City’s “Cradle to Career” initiative outlined in its New York Works plan, inspiring the next generation of freight industry leaders by promoting maritime and supply chain education at schools like Urban Assembly Harbor School, School for Global Commerce, and McKee Career and Technical Education high school,” said Roland Lewis, President & CEO, Waterfront Alliance.

“UPROSE applauds the city's efforts to modernize its freight distribution system through Freight NYC. For too long, a largely truck-based system has strained the health of environmental justice communities and wreaked havoc on our atmosphere,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director, UPROSE. “As we address a challenge as complex as climate change, our distribution networks too must be complex, multimodal, and interconnected, aimed at driving down emissions and alleviating the air we breathe. Freight NYC is an important step in this direction."

"If we are to meet our 80 by 50 goal, we must look towards long-term innovations in our transportation sector including sustainable and intermodal freight travel. Freight NYC will invest in our rail and maritime freight network, reduce traffic congestion, incentivize clean trucks, and create jobs. It has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases, improve our air quality, and transform our transportation infrastructure,” said Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “This initiative is a win for our city and NYLCV's members who helped push for reduced emissions from truck traffic as part of our priorities this year. We look forward to working with NYCEDC and other community stakeholders as this strategy is implemented."

“The Urban Assembly School of Global Commerce is thrilled to participate in the City’s NYC Works and related Freight NYC initiatives. Our students and teachers have for many years participated in work-based learning, internships, job fairs, and jobs shadows connected to careers in the growing supply chain field,” said Roony Vizcaino, Principal, UA School for Global Commerce. “Linking the City’s farsighted investment in freight infrastructure with career development for our high schoolers guarantees that more New Yorkers will not only get good paying jobs in the freight sector when they graduate, but also secure a new generation of logistics leaders for the City of New York.”

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