Skip to main content
Press Release

Mayor Bill De Blasio Joins State, Federal And Local Officials To Announce Major Milestones To Activate New Maritime Shipping Hub In Southwest Brooklyn

Jun 29 2015

City to Activate Key Maritime Industrial Site at South Brooklyn Marine Terminal to Deliver High Quality Jobs to the Working Waterfront

Federal Government Recognizes SBMT and Red Hook Container Terminal as Part of America's Marine Highway System; "Container On Barge Service" Will Eliminate Tens of Thousands of Truck Trips from Ports in New Jersey

BROOKLYN, NY—The U.S. Maritime Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation today recognized SBMT’s importance by designating it and nearby Red Hook Container Terminal as part of America’s Marine Highway System, which will make cargo operations in Southwest Brooklyn eligible for future federal support. These announcements represent key milestones in ongoing efforts to reestablish Southwest Brooklyn as a vital shipping hub, and they reflect the City's interest in the long-term phased development of a deep water container port in New York’s harbor.

“This is a big step towards putting our waterfront back to work. Soon, cargo ships that would have docked in New Jersey will be docking here in Brooklyn, bringing good jobs, taking trucks off our streets and helping spur this growing industrial hub,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This transformation is happening because of the dogged advocacy of our congressional delegation, our partners in the City Council and our colleagues at the Port Authority, with whom we’ve worked together to bring this new port online.”

“Working alongside my dear friend and colleague, Congressswoman Nydia Velazquez, and all of the other elected officials who represent the Brooklyn waterfront, as well as key partners in labor, environmental and community organizations, I have been a passionate advocate and a supporter of the Port of NY & NJ for more than thirty years,” said U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler. “As such, I view today as truly great day. I am extremely grateful to Mayor Bill de Blasio for committing his administration to the phased development of a major deep-water container port centered here at SBMT. I fundamentally believe that an active Brooklyn container port is imperative for the economic vitality, and environmental well-being, of the City and region -- as well as the local community of Sunset Park -- and that it is a key element in ensuring that our port district overall retains its position of dominance on the eastern seaboard of the United States. I also congratulate Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who negotiated a key 39-year master lease for SBMT with NYCEDC, garnering key community benefits and robust community engagement roles, while ensuring that NYCEDC can nimbly activate SBMT for good jobs as soon as possible. And finally, I'm thrilled the U.S. Maritime Administration has bestowed the American Marine Highway designation on South Brooklyn, and that it recognizes the importance of our nearby Red Hook Container Terminal, and it's new barging service, as an essential part of our region's shipping eco-system.

“Designation of the South Brooklyn waterfront as a portion of America’s Marine Highway is an important step as we modernize our waterfront, creating opportunities for commerce, industry and green space for Brooklyn residents to relax,” said U.S. Representative Nydia M. Velázquez.

“Designating Red Hook Container Terminal a part of America's Marine Highway Program and activating SBMT reflect the important role that Brooklyn's working waterfront plays in our economy,” said NYCEDC Interim President Kim Vaccari. “These milestones reflect our commitment to strengthening environmental resiliency and economic competitiveness, while creating quality jobs on the waterfront.”

“If we are to remain competitive as a region, we must address the need for additional cross-Hudson transportation capacity,” said Port Commerce Director Richard Larrabee. “This initiative is one of the many solutions to help mitigate the already limited resources used to transport cargo in the New York and New Jersey region. The barge service creates the extra benefit of reducing congestion and the port's environmental footprint.”

“The South Brooklyn Marine Terminal will be a testament to the success of community-based planning and neighborhood development, said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This project will infuse South Brooklyn with strong-jobs, much-needed transportation infrastructure, and community amenities that will revitalize a neighborhood underserved for far too long. With tangible public benefits and mechanisms for continued input from residents and local stakeholders, the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal project will be a real boon for this community. I thank Council Member Carlos Menchaca for his leadership throughout this process and I look forward to breaking ground on this exciting development.

“Brooklyn has a proud history of maritime commerce, and the activation of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal is a 'back to the future' moment that will reinvigorate the creation of good-paying jobs for Brooklynites,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “In my inaugural address, I called for greater use of sites like this and the Red Hook Container Terminal to stimulate our shipping economy and clear our roadways from truck congestion, which in turn would have a positive impact on our local air quality and traffic flow. I appreciate the ongoing partnership of our leaders on the city, state, and federal levels as we steer Brooklyn's working waterfront toward a wave of opportunity for hard-working Brooklynites.”

“The South Brooklyn Marine Terminal represents Brooklyn's valuable maritime potential,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “It must be developed responsibly. I've worked to ensure that real community engagement on this project creates local jobs and sustainable growth. Our maritime and manufacturing areas must thrive together with long-neglected adjacent communities. Our obligation to the next generation of New York’s workforce is to protect and invest in our working waterfront. Together we can build a world-class economic engine for New York City.”

“Activating South Brooklyn Marine Terminal for short and long term uses is a priority not just for job creation in Sunset Park, but also for the City’s broader economic development goals. I was pleased to help to bring this deal to fruition, and am proud to see the area recognized as part of America’s Marine Highway,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick.

“Activating Brooklyn's ports is one of the best things we can do to get trucks off our region's roads, reduce congestion, insure more sustainable movement of goods, and create good jobs,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “I'm pleased to join the celebration of Marine Highway Designation for the New York Harbor Container-on-Barge Service, and of the plan to activate the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal. Congratulations to Congress Members Nadler and Velazquez, Mayor de Blasio, and Council Member Menchaca on these great steps forward.”

“Today's designation of the South Brooklyn waterfront as a marine highway and the activation of the Marine Terminal as a working port are important steps forward in reducing traffic on highways and local streets by making use of New York's network of waterways, as well as a key part of the revitalization of the working waterfront,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “I want to particularly thank Mayor de Blasio, Congressmembers Nadler and Velazquez, Councilmember Menchaca, the U.S. Maritime Administration, the Port Authority, and EDC in addition to my other elected colleagues for their persistence in pursuit of this goal.”

“Today's announcement marks another step forward rebuilding the Brooklyn waterfront,” said Assembly Member Felix W. Ortiz. “I will actively work to insure that civic and community leaders engage in the new task force and that we bring new jobs, housing and a better environment to Sunset Park and Red Hook.”

“The Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation (SBIDC) is pleased to celebrate both the Marine Highway Designation for the New York Harbor and the agreement at SBMT between the City Council and the NYCEDC,” said David D. Meade, Executive Director of the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation. “SBIDC has served the industrial and manufacturing businesses along Southwest Brooklyn’s waterfront for close to 40 years, and we know firsthand the importance of maintaining and expanding the working waterfront in Southwest Brooklyn. The Marine Highway designation and SBMT agreement will help create hundreds of new high quality jobs for local job seekers. SBIDC would like to thank the Mayor, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, and Council Member Carlos Menchaca for their leadership and commitment to the working waterfront in Southwest Brooklyn.”

“Today is a reminder that Sunset Park is home to one of New York City's last remaining industrial waterfronts and home to a diverse working-class community,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of UPROSE. “UPROSE believes the preservation and expansion of a blue-collar manufacturing base is crucial to the economic viability of Sunset Park and the region. We look forward to working with you to ensure that any new economic development on the waterfront directly benefits the local community.”

“The ILA is thrilled to celebrate the start of the Marine Highway operation between Red Hook and Port Newark container terminals,” said George Miranda, President, Teamsters Joint Council 16. “We congratulate the City, Maritime Administration, Port Authority and the terminal operators for making it happen. Our members are prepared to offer the best possible service to ensure success of this innovative program.”

“By investing in port and marine transportation infrastructure, New York’s leaders are investing in an efficient transportation system that will connect goods to the city and cut congestion on the region’s bridges and tunnel,” said MARAD Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen. “This project underscores the need for the Obama Administration’s GROW AMERICA Act, which will provide the long-term funding certainty to support further critical infrastructure projects nationwide.”

“To paraphrase Mark Twain, the demise of the Port of New York is greatly exaggerated,” said Roland Lewis, President, Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance. “New York’s working waterfront is vital, alive and needed. Good paying entry level jobs in neighborhoods like Sunset Park and Red Hook and the environmental benefits of getting trucks off the road through waterborne transport is a great win-win for our city and region. The Alliance salutes Red Hook Container Terminal, Port Newark Container Terminal and the federal, state, city leaders for making this happen.”

“The development of the New York Harbor Container and Trailer Barge Service is another indication of the collaborative atmosphere prevalent in the Port of New York and New Jersey,” said New York Shipping Association President John J. Nardi. “This project also adds another dimension of service to the customers who use our Port. New York Shipping Association and our members are happy to work in partnership with the City of New York, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as well as the United States Maritime Administration in formulating this forward thinking and efficient new option for the movement of goods between the facilities located in New Jersey and New York.”

“The ILA is thrilled to celebrate the start of the Marine Highway operation between Red Hook and Port Newark container terminals,” said Louis Pernice, President of Local 1814 of the International Longshoremen’s Association. “We congratulate the City, Maritime Administration, Port Authority and the terminal operators for making it happen. Our members are prepared to offer the best possible service to ensure success of this innovative program.”

“Today is a major milestone for New York Harbor,” said Maritime Association of the Port of New York/New Jersey Executive Director Eric Johansson. “By connecting major shipping terminals in New Jersey and Brooklyn and reactivating South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, we are unlocking the inherent efficiency and environmental sustainability of these maritime facilities. This promises less impact to our roads, improved air quality, and more well-paid living wage jobs on both sides of this great Harbor.”

“The designation by MARAD, of the New York Harbor Container on Barge Service between Red Hook Container Terminal and Port Newark Container Terminal is an important milestone for the Port of New York and New Jersey, New York City and the South Brooklyn working waterfront,” said President and CEO of Red Hook Container Terminal Michael Stamatis. “This new gateway for ocean freight movement will provide the most efficient means available for the transportation of goods across New York Harbor, offering a cost effective alternative for shippers that will help reduce greenhouse gases, fuel consumption, maintenance costs to existing roads and bridges, and traffic congestion.”

In May, the City Council approved a long-term Master Lease between the City and NYCEDC to activate an industrial maritime facility at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal. The project will return maritime service to SBMT and allow for calls from a new generation of cargo ships that import consumer goods and raw materials from around the world. In addition, upgraded rail connections at the site make SBMT the only marine terminal in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island capable of handling ocean-going vessels, barges and rail on the east side of New York Harbor. As a result of the agreement reached between the City, NYCEDC and the City Council, the activation of SBMT will result in hundreds of jobs on the working waterfront and provides for the formation of the Sunset Park Waterfront Planning and Jobs Task Force to assist in long-term planning for the future of the waterfront and balance the City’s industrial goals with the needs of the Sunset Park community.

In January 2015, NYCEDC and the Port Authority co-sponsored an application to the U.S. Maritime Administration to designate existing and future barge service across New York Harbor as a segment of the American Marine Highway Program. The new route will provide access to origins and destinations east of the Hudson River for freight arriving and departing the Port Newark Container Terminal, further enhancing New York Harbor’s cross harbor freight network and supporting existing container-on-barge service between Global Container Terminals in Bayonne and Staten Island.

The “America’s Marine Highway Program” is a federal initiative, led by the U.S. Department of Transportation, that seeks to integrate the nation’s 29,000 nautical miles of navigable waterways into the overall U.S. transportation network, alleviating highway congestion and providing public benefits including better air quality and reduced road maintenance costs. Shipping by water is the most efficient method of freight transportation: one barge carrying bulk cargo can eliminate up to 60 trucks, while a barge carrying containerized cargo can eliminate up to 250 trucks from local roads. Shipping by water produces seven times less carbon emissions and 20 times less nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide per ton than trucking.

New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.