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Freight hub overhaul would create 5,000 jobs, save hundreds of millions: Report

Often-inefficient trucking is responsible for 89% of freight transportation in the city, according to the report by the mayor’s office and the city’s Economic Development Corporation.

Trucking congestion cost the city's economy $862 million

Trucking congestion cost the city's economy $862 million in 2017, and if nothing is done, that number could reach $1.1 billion by 2045, the report found. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Drew Angerer

The city’s freight industry is plagued with various issues, such as congestion and a lack of space for shipping boats, according to a new report — but there are solutions to those problems.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s Economic Development Corporation released a plan Monday that would invest in new transportation options for city businesses, as well as spread out distribution among the five boroughs. EDC president and CEO James Patchett said the proposal would create 5,000 new jobs in the city, and save the economy hundreds of millions of dollars by decreasing congestion.

“This plan is a win-win for our environment and economy,” he said in a statement.

The biggest impediment for freight efficiency, according to the report, is the use of truck transportation (which makes up 89 percent of freight transports in the city). Trucking congestion cost the city’s economy $862 million in 2017, and if nothing is done, that number could reach $1.1 billion by 2045, the report found.

In addition, many of the city’s maritime and rail facilities are more than 100 years old and there is a lack of large, affordable distribution centers for merchandise, the report said. As a result, companies are forced to have their goods brought to similar facilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The report called for new barge terminals in the Bronx and Sunset Park that would attract more freight ships to the city. It also called for a revamp of the outer boroughs’ rail freight system, including additional sidings that would allow more trains to travel between locations.

The city’s plan also sees new rail yard opportunities in Staten Island, Sunset Park and Hunts Point.

The report also called for the creation of freight hubs in each borough. The hubs would connect various forms of transportation and speed up the supply chain.

The EDC will put out two requests for hub proposals in the next two weeks: A new 500,000-square-feet hub at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and a new four-acre hub near Kennedy Airport.

“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,” Patchett said in a statement.

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