New York – The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) have created the North Atlantic Marine Highway Alliance to foster the use of barge services to offset the use of trucks and supplement rail cargo to and from the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Recognizing the untapped potential and excess capacity of the coastal waterways, the alliance will serve in an advisory capacity on research, analysis, and relationship building to support the realization of a financially viable, regional barge network. The Alliance will be composed of public agencies, port authorities, marine terminal operators, and service providers, and will provide a forum for stakeholders to work collaboratively to develop and expand regional barge services among two or more North Atlantic ports, ranging from Maryland to Maine. The alliance will function in a similar fashion to the Port Performance Task Force, created in 2013 to have all port stakeholders develop and implement solutions to issues that confront the entire port community.

Development of the North Atlantic Marine Highway Alliance complements Freight NYC, a $100 million plan released by NYCEDC earlier this year. The plan aims to reduce dependency on trucking for distribution and increase use of rail freight and marine barging to move freight in and around the City of New York. Freight volumes are forecast to increase nearly 70 percent by 2025.

USDOT’s Maritime Administration will support these efforts to create a regional barge network through its marine highway grant program. In August, NYCEDC was awarded approximately $300,000 through a Federal grant. The grant, which will be matched by the City of New York and potentially by other advisory group members, will be used to research potential markets and operational elements of the barge system.

In 2017, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey handled a record 6.7 million TEUs.  Through July 2018, cargo volumes are up 7 percent over the previous record set in 2017.  The Port Authority has made investments in its rail and road network to accommodate the increased cargo from larger ships but believes the use of barge services will help reduce the current 85 percent reliance on trucks to transport goods to and from the port.

“Our goal is to balance the need to efficiently and effectively move freight throughout the region and beyond, while continuing to be good environmental stewards to the communities that surround our port facilities,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “This new alliance will help us achieve that goal by seeking to foster more environmentally friendly barge services to transport cargo to and from the port, which will supplement other major initiatives we have in place that address emissions reductions and air quality for those who live and work in the port community.”

“Reducing the amount of cargo coming in and out of the New York City metro area by truck is key to improving air quality and decreasing congestion,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “NYCEDC’s Freight NYC plan underscores the potential that our waterways have to catalyze the City’s freight distribution network. In partnership with other members of the North Atlantic Marine Highway Alliance, we can develop a sustainable regional barge network that will support a 21st century economy.”

“With cargo volumes continuing on record pace, it’s critical that we explore all options to transport goods on and off the port complex to reduce congestion on our highways and our environmental footprint,” said Port Department Director Molly Campbell.  “Our coastal waterways are an important underutilized resource that could provide an environmentally friendly mode to transport cargo along the East Coast.”


About the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

 Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit



New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.