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Nadler Criticizes the City, State and Port Authority's Short-Sighted Decision to Divest from the Red Hook Container Port

Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-12) issued the following statement in response to the City, State, and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's decision to divest from the Red Hook Container Port:

"I have been an advocate and a supporter of the Port of New York and New Jersey for more than forty years.  Red Hook is the only remaining container port facility on the eastern side of the Hudson River, and it is of critical importance to New York City and the entire region that this port remains open and not converted into housing or other usage. I’m disappointed that the Port Authority abandoned this deal despite having a 100-year responsibility to steward the port and ensure the success of the port of New York.

Our current container ports (except Red Hook) lie on Newark Bay: Newark, Elizabeth, and Howland Hook.  Unfortunately, Newark Bay is on the other side of the Kill Van Kull, a narrow and treacherous body of water separating Staten Island on the south and Bayonne on the north.

In the event that a large ship was to sink, or be sunk, in the Kill Van Kull, most of our port would be closed for weeks, or even months, and with it, New York City’s import supply chain.

The security threat posed by having all our ports located in Newark Bay was illustrated this past March in Baltimore, when a container ship lost power and hit and destroyed the Key Bridge, blocking the entrance to the Port of Baltimore.  This tragic mishap highlights concerns that our port is vulnerable to closure – either by intentional or unintentional acts – because it is only accessible via the Kill Van Kull.

The City Administration and the Port Authority have stated their determination to potentially close or shrink the Red Hook cargo facility, which serves as New York City’s only deepwater docks.  In addition to shedding hundreds of jobs, increasing truck traffic, and raising transportation costs to New Yorkers, this policy would result in all of the port capacity upon which New York City relies being located on the other side of the Kill Van Kull. This arrangement is very susceptible to major disruption and easy attacks.  We cannot allow that to happen.

We need commerce and ships coming to the New York side of the harbor, where two-thirds of the population of this region live. Additionally, the current operator, Red Hook Container Terminals LLC, plays an important role in our local economy, directly providing more than 500 jobs.  These are not low-paying retail or service-oriented jobs but good high-paying union jobs, with healthcare and pension benefits, that support families living in the city. There has been no rational justification provided for the economically detrimental decision to close or shrink the Red Hook cargo facility. Instead of arbitrarily changing the ownership of Red Hook piers, the City, State, and the Port Authority should be doing everything possible to expand and invest in the port in Brooklyn.  for our safety and security and for commerce, jobs, and cheap and efficient delivery of goods and services the Brooklyn port can provide.

I strongly urge the State, City, and the Port Authority to abandon this transfer, make the Port Authority commit to the necessary investments in the Red Hook piers, and work with this port operator to ensure the long-term viability of the port and the survival of these jobs.  It is imperative from both an economic and security perspective that this facility be kept open and operating and run by the Port Authority, which operates, maintains, and invests in the port facilities in our harbor."



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