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Author : Dennis Culnan

Celebrating a True Camden Hero: Sheila Roberts Receives Award for Lifelong Commitment to Camden

We are thrilled to congratulate our very own South Jersey Ports board member, Sheila Roberts who recently received the prestigious Camden Hero Award at the Camden Community Partnership’s Annual Meeting. 

The Camden Hero Award is a testament to Sheila’s lifelong dedication to her beloved city and its residents. It recognizes her unwavering commitment to making Camden a better place for everyone, and her impact has left an indelible mark on the community.

Sheila Roberts is not just a resident of Camden; she is a true community leader. Her journey has been defined by selfless service and advocacy, as she has tirelessly championed the causes she holds dear.

For over two decades, Sheila has served as the President of the Cooper Lanning Civic Association, tirelessly advocating for the Cooper Plaza neighborhood and partnering with the adjacent Lanning Square neighborhood. Her dedication extends far beyond her role in the association; she contributes to area food banks, supports homeless shelters, and collaborates with organizations to provide essential items to those in need throughout the year.

Sheila’s commitment to social determinants of health is evident in her partnership with the Food Bank of South Jersey, where she facilitates regular food distributions. She has also played a pivotal role in establishing and maintaining a community garden in Cooper Plaza, providing a source of fresh produce for neighbors.

Sheila’s involvement in youth sports underscores her commitment to providing recreational opportunities for Camden’s youth. Her dedication to the Camden Promise Neighborhood Initiative further highlights her passion for creating opportunities and resources for children and families.

Her dedication to improving the quality of life for Camden residents has led her to volunteer and serve on numerous boards and committees. Her background as a retired teacher from the Camden City Public Schools and her education at Rutgers University-Camden have equipped her with the knowledge and passion needed to effect positive change.

Sheila Roberts is not just a board member; she is a Camden hero. Her unwavering commitment to the city and its residents has made a profound and lasting impact, exemplifying the spirit of resiliency, selflessness, and betterment that the Camden Hero Award celebrates.

“We are immensely proud to have Sheila as a part of the South Jersey Ports family, and we extend our heartfelt congratulations on this well-deserved honor. Sheila’s dedication is an inspiration to us all, and we look forward to continuing to make a positive impact alongside her in the city,”  said Andy Saporito, South Jersey Ports Executive Director & CEO.


Building Bridges: South Jersey Port Corporation’s Commitment to Community

The team at South Jersey Ports recognizes that its presence in the communities of Camden, Paulsboro, and Salem is not just about business and the supply chain; it’s about people. This understanding has fueled our commitment to community outreach efforts, which have become an integral part of our mission.

One of the standout initiatives is our participation in local job fairs. We recognize the importance of providing employment opportunities to residents in the area. It is our mission after all to foster regional economic development and that means creating local jobs. We partner with local organizations and schools to ensure we are actively recruiting from the local talent pool.

South Jersey Ports’ outreach efforts extend far beyond just job fairs. We understand that the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. That’s why we regularly organize student tours and career days at port facilities. These events provide students with an up-close look at the maritime industry and the career possibilities it holds. They inspire young minds to consider careers in logistics, engineering, and various other fields, paving the way for a brighter future for our communities.

Participation in neighborhood clean-ups is another crucial aspect of the ports’ community involvement. We recognize that a clean environment is essential for the well-being of our neighbors. By actively participating in clean-up initiatives, we hope to not only contribute to a healthier living environment but also foster a sense of togetherness with our neighbors. Our teams roll up their sleeves, put on gloves, and work side by side with residents and other stakeholders demonstrating our shared commitment to being responsible stewards of the environment.

Moreover, the ports’ commitment to the community goes beyond the physical boundaries of our facilities. We actively engage with local organizations and support various community projects and events throughout the year.

The philosophy behind all these efforts is clear: our organization views itself as an integral part of the South Jersey community. We don’t just want to coexist with our neighbors; we want to thrive together. We understand that our success is intertwined with the well-being of the communities we call home.

In the end, our commitment to community outreach efforts isn’t just about being a good neighbor; it’s about being a true partner in the growth of our host cities. By fostering relationships, providing opportunities, and making a positive impact, we are not only helping build a stronger community but also setting a standard for responsible corporate citizenship. Our mission isn’t just about shipping goods; it’s about building bridges of goodwill and collaboration that benefit everyone involved.



A Remarkable Half-Century of Collaboration

Forging lasting partnerships can be a challenging feat for any organization, often discussed but not always realized. The collaboration between Macsteel International and South Jersey Ports (SJP) is a shining example of such partnerships and a remarkable testament to the enduring power of strong alliances.

For over 116 years, Macsteel International has been a leading manufacturer, merchandiser, and distributor of steel and value-added products. With a global presence encompassing cities around the globe such as Amsterdam, Dubai, New York, Houston, Camden, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Sydney, and Melbourne, Macsteel has firmly established itself as a key player in the steel industry, boasting $244 million in revenues and a dedicated team of 500 employees.

A Handshake Deal That Lasted 50 Years

The partnership between Macsteel and SJP began in the mid-1970s when William (Bill) Matteo, an executive at the time, forged a connection with the port’s then-executive director, Joseph Balzano. Remarkably, the deal was sealed with a handshake, and it has stood strong for half a century.

According to Michael J. Purpura, International Domestic Shipping and Logistic Manager for Macsteel International, who now oversees the SJPC-Macsteel partnership, “We’ve forged a very close relationship through a succession of natural management iterations. Currently, we are working closely with Brendan Dugan, Assistant Executive Director/Chief Commercial Officer who shares the same commitment, focus, and attitude that we do—ensuring excellence in customer service.”

The South Jersey Ports’ Advantages

For Macsteel, the port’s facilities are ideal. Purpura notes, “South Jersey Ports allow easy access to our customers in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and the Midwest. It’s centrally located on the U.S. East Coast and offers excellent facilities, warehousing, laydown areas for our cargo, and superb highway and rail connections from the port to our customers.”

Moreover, it’s the seamless, “hand-in-glove” relationship that has flourished over five decades that truly sets South Jersey Ports apart. The no-nonsense, “let’s get to it” approach of the port team members resonates deeply with Macsteel, emphasizing the shared commitment to delivering cargo promptly to customers.

Market and Tonnage

Macsteel’s imports through South Jersey Ports vary between 5,000 to 10,000 tons of diverse steel products, largely driven by customer demand. While the Biden infrastructure plan promises a significant surge in steel demand over the next decade, immediate concerns, such as labor issues and supply chain disruptions, are at the forefront of customer priorities.

Purpura explains, “Right now, customers are cautious, managing inventories, and awaiting resolution of labor issues.  However, Macsteel and South Jersey Ports remain steadfast in our commitment to delivering, as we have for years.”

As Macsteel and South Jersey Ports continue to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of the steel industry, their enduring partnership serves as a beacon of stability, dedication, and collaboration. Here’s to the next 50 years of success and shared achievements.

“Over the past 50 years, we’ve built a relationship based on trust and a shared goal of superior customer service and meeting supply chain demand. It’s a true honor to celebrate this remarkable milestone together as we look forward to the future,” said Andy Saporito, Executive Director & CEO of South Jersey Ports.




Celebration Commemorating the City’s Role in the International Supply Chain Held on October 24, 2023
CAMDEN, NJ – Clipper Bulk Shipping Ltd, a renowned international shipping company, honored the City of Camden, New Jersey, by naming one of its state-of-the-art vessels, the “Norse Camden,” in recognition of Camden’s vital role in the global supply chain. This remarkable tribute underscores the deep and enduring partnership between Clipper Bulk Shipping and the South Jersey Port Corporation, as well as the significance of Camden as the company’s largest U.S. port of call.

For more than three decades, Clipper Bulk Shipping has been a steadfast partner in Camden City, importing steel from Northern Europe, with a focus on tinplate in coils, steel coils, and structural steel. This enduring relationship has not only been beneficial for trade and commerce but has also contributed to Camden’s reputation as a pivotal gateway in the international maritime industry.

Camden Mayor, Vic Carstarphen expressed his enthusiasm for this symbolic gesture, stating, “We are honored to have our city’s name associated with Clipper Bulk Shipping’s Norse Camden vessel. This event highlights the importance of Camden in the global supply chain and reinforces our commitment to fostering strong international partnerships.”
State Senator Nilsa Cruz Perez also emphasized the significance of this occasion, saying, “Clipper Bulk Shipping’s decision to name a ship after Camden showcases Camden’s integral role in international trade. It reflects the commitment of our local, state, and international partners to the prosperity and economic growth of our community and state.”
Camden County Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. added, “This event is a testament to the dedication of our stakeholders, the City of Camden, South Jersey Port Corporation, Delaware River Stevedores, and Terminal Shipping, who have tirelessly worked together to strengthen our relationship with Clipper Bulk Shipping. We’re proud to be a part of this partnership.”

Clipper Bulk Shipping Ltd, a privately held company founded by Torben G. Jensen in 1972, continues to thrive under the leadership of Chairman Frank G. Jensen and Partner and Member of the Board Niels G. Jensen. Clipper Bulk Shipping is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, with operational offices in Houston, Hong Kong, and Cape Town and operates a fleet of approximately 90 vessels.

Andy Saporito, Executive Director & CEO of South Jersey Ports, highlighted the significance of the Norse Camden, stating, “The Norse vessels are a remarkable addition to the international supply chain and symbolize a more modern and eco-friendly approach to shipping which aligns with our sustainability and port modernization goals. We are proud to host the Norse Camden and are excited to continue our partnership with Clipper Bulk Shipping as we embark on a new chapter in our shared maritime history.”

NJ State Assemblyman Bill Moen expressed his excitement for the celebration of this milestone for Camden saying, “The Norse Camden is not only a testament to the ingenuity of maritime engineering but also a reflection of the global partnerships that drive our state’s economy. It’s inspiring to witness this ship’s journey from its construction in Japan to its vital role in our port in Camden, New Jersey.”

The Norse Camden is the fifth vessel in a series of eco-friendly ships, constructed primarily in Japan. This series, named after main steel ports worldwide, emphasizes the connection between global trade and the dedicated ports that facilitate it.
The official berthing of the Norse Camden at Balzano Terminal in Camden came on October 22, 2023, and was celebrated at Balzano Terminal in Camden on Tuesday, October 24. This event was a significant moment in the maritime history of Camden, celebrating its rich legacy and vibrant future in the global supply chain.

“South Jersey Port Corporation has been a great business partner for us for many, many years,” said Peter Svensson, senior vice president and head of Clipper Americas. He emphasized the incredible milestones achieved through this enduring partnership, “The millions of tons of steel that our ships have moved over three decades through Balzano Marine Terminal in Camden are a testament to the trust and reliability that defines our relationship. This is a great way to celebrate The Norse Camden and the tremendous growth and success we’ve made together.”

About the Norse Camden: The Norse Camden, a remarkable addition to Clipper Bulk Shipping’s fleet was meticulously constructed at the renowned Shikoku Dockyard Company Ltd. in Takamatsu, Japan. With a displacement of 48,617 metric tons and a deadweight of 40,020 metric tons at a draft of 35.52 feet in full load condition, the vessel boasts impressive dimensions. Her overall length extends to 600 feet, while her beam spans 99.7 feet, providing ample capacity for the transportation of cargo. Powered by a robust Mitsui-Man B&W engine producing 6,120 kW of power at 99 revolutions per minute, the Norse Camden cruises at a maximum speed of 14.2 knots. Launched on September 7, 2021, and delivered on January 17, 2022, this state-of-the-art vessel is registered in Singapore.

About the South Jersey Port Corporation: The South Jersey Port Corporation (SJPC) provides world-class facilities and beneficial services that support and accommodate the transportation of goods and commodities, both by water and land. It is the mission of the SJPC to foster regional economic development through revenue generation in a financially and environmentally sustainable manner to support facility, staffing, and infrastructure investment for the benefit of our Port District, including the cities of Camden, Paulsboro, and Salem, New Jersey.


U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) today announced $750,000 in new funding that the congressman secured in the FY 2023 omnibus package. The money will be used to stabilize Berth 1 at the Balzano Marine Terminal so the port can meet increasing business activity.
“The ‘liquid highway’ that is the Delaware River is an economic lifeline for South Jersey and the surrounding region,” said Congressman Norcross. “By investing in our critical infrastructure, we are increasing the capacity of our ports and local businesses to access markets not just here in South Jersey, but across the country. Additionally, this funding will create good-paying jobs. I’m proud to have fought for this funding in Congress and look forward to seeing the positive economic impact this project has on our region.”

“We want to thank Congressman Norcross for his advocacy in Washington and his ongoing support of our mission at the South Jersey Ports,” said Andy Saporito, executive director and CEO of the South Jersey Port Corporation. “This investment directly translates into job retention and creation – from the construction workers who will build it, to the dockworkers loading and unloading ships, to the truckers hauling the cargo, to jobs in the industries on the end of the supply chain. It’s a multiplier that is great for our link in the global supply chain.”

“The Port of Camden is one of the busiest along the east coast, so this funding will go a long way to ensure it remains an economic engine,” said Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen. “I am grateful to Congressman Donald Norcross for fighting for this critical funding, grateful for his commitment to invest in much-needed infrastructure upgrades, and grateful for new employment opportunities coming to Camden and this region.”

The funding is one of 15 local projects Congressman Norcross secured funding for in the FY 2023 omnibus funding package. In total, he brought back over $10 million in community project funding for New Jersey’s 1st Congressional District.


When plywood cargo is stalled because of damaged shipping crates importers call Matt DeLuca, Sr. at Federal Warehousing located at South Jersey Ports’ Broadway Marine Terminal to the rescue. “Importers call us to make their distressed cargo shippable,” explained DeLuca, Sr. “For 25 years we have been their quality-control team. We make sure that the cargo is ‘reworked.’ We repair the crates, from repairing damaged edges to an entire rebuild of the crates and repackaging of the cargo. We make sure the cargo is secured and safe for shipment by truck, rail, or ship. And we do it quickly and at the right price.”

It’s a service that is good for the importers’ bottom line and, good for the environment – and, for the DeLuca Family, an affirmation that the South Jersey Ports is a ladder of opportunity, that even without a college degree, you can have a prosperous career and even start your own business.

While millions of tons of cargo move undamaged throughout the port, a tiny fraction becomes un-shippable because of weak crating and/or rough conditions, creating a niche business opportunity for DeLuca, Sr. DeLuca’s Federal Warehousing has been servicing 20 plywood importers at South Jersey Ports’ terminals and traveling to other ports for his clients to survey cargos that need to be “reworked.”

The plywood Federal Warehousing salvages results in significant savings and less impact on importers’ narrow profit margins. The repurposing of plywood also reduces waste in landfills and results in reducing use of one of our most precious natural resources…trees that have many benefits to our environment.

In the grand scheme of port operations, “reworking” distressed plywood cargo is a niche – but it’s a vital niche that requires skilled labor learned on the docks of the South Jersey Ports. Matt DeLuca, Sr. learned “by doing” and by developing the expertise in ‘reworking’ the cargo and earning the trust of the importers.

“It’s developing skills and relationships that three generations of the DeLuca Family learned working at the South Jersey Ports,” Matt, Sr. said. “My Dad, Joe, Sr. worked at South Jersey Ports for decades and my brother Joe Jr. and I followed in his footsteps and now my son Matt, Jr. is working at South Jersey Ports, keeping up the family tradition.”

“We’re grateful to South Jersey Ports for good jobs that made it possible to raise our middle-class families and for the opportunities where you are measured by your performance to get the job done, not by diplomas or college degrees.”

South Jersey Ports networks its’ people into an extended port family of companies, relationships and port people who mentor and share their knowledge to hone their skills and ensure the supply chain needs are met.

“I developed a relationship with one of our (South Jersey Port’s) tenants who mentored me constantly,” DeLuca, Sr. said. “They taught me the ropes of the port operations from the shippers’ and importers’ eyes. They encouraged me to take a risk and now I have my own business.”


In 1984, Dan Szustowicz, Sr. and his wife Mary founded D&M Transportation Services, Inc., a family owned and operated trucking company. D&M offers trucking and logistics solutions to South Jersey Ports’ terminal customers and other businesses others along the Delaware River and has been headquartered for 33 years at South Jersey Ports’ Broadway Marine Terminal in Camden, N.J.

D&M is a flatbed trucking company that services the supply chain in the Northeast region of the United States by transporting a wide variety of commodities (steel, aluminum, tin-plate, and wood) including coils, plate, tubing, lumber, and roofing materials. D&M offers full truckload and less than truckload (LTL) service for loads with either import or domestic origins. Their drivers are TWIC compliant and have extensive knowledge in handling a variety of materials including specialty cargo.

With a passion for quality control and customer service, D&M Transportation Services, Inc. has also developed itself as expert haulers of a variety of specialty steel cargos including high-quality rolled steel, flat plate steel, and structural steel beams.

Dan Szustowicz, Sr. was in high school when he started in the trucking industry. Over the ensuing decades, with the exception of a two-year stint in the U.S. Army, he mastered all aspects of the trucking and logistics industry from a management / operations perspective. He has done it all. He worked his way up from company to company mastering key aspects of trucking and logistics with increasing responsibility: inbound/outbound foreman, city dispatcher, and operations manager. In 1974, Ohio Fast Freight (a steel hauling carrier) hired him as a terminal manager, where he honed his operational skills and expertise in handling steel cargo.

“Ten years later, D&M (Dan & Mary) Transportation Services was born,” said Lisa Szustowicz-Colella, Dan Szustowicz’s daughter who was hired in 1987, soon to be followed by her younger brother, Dan Szustowicz, Jr. in 1994.

“We started out using owner-operators and once business grew, my father started to purchase his own equipment and hire drivers. He also obtained his CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) to back up our team. Dan Sr. would often jump into a truck, at the last minute, to deliver a shipment for a customer in need. He always kept an extra truck open for shipments like that.” said Lisa Szustowicz-Colella.

D&M’s equipment consists of late model Peterbilt tractors, flatbed Conestoga trailers and flatbeds with side kits. Their tractors are ELD compliant and equipped with GPS tracking, providing customers with real time status of their loads. Their fleet services a 150-mile radius of their home terminal in Camden, NJ. Being a tenant of South Jersey Ports has been key to D&M’s business growth within the region.
To give its import customers a greater geographic reach into the United States, the Szustowicz family also operates, D&M Services, Inc, a full-service transportation logistics company formed to service their customers’ growing transportation needs and to assist import customers with longer hauls out of the ports of New Jersey and Philadelphia.

“We have expanded to service other ports such as Baltimore, Savannah, New Orleans, Houston, as well as the Great Lakes ports,” explained Lisa. With a network of more than 5,000 contract carriers, D&M Services, Inc. provides customers with excellent transportation services at a reasonable cost. They offer full truckload (T/L), less than truckload (LTL), long-haul and container services.

“When we moved to South Jersey Ports Joe Balzano, then executive director, made sure we felt like were part of the port community. He helped to market us by introducing D&M to new customers and always included us in meetings with existing customers. We shared a common 24/7 work ethic and commitment to our customers. Mr. Saporito, his successor, has the same passion. Andy came in with a plan and immediately started improvements to both terminals. He’s making major upgrades to the infrastructure by upgrading the equipment and facilities,” said Dan Szustowicz, Jr.

For more information, please visit them on the web at: or call
1 (800) 220-3806 or (856) 963-0099.

Rep. Norcross Announces $750,000 for South Jersey Port Infrastructure Improvements

February 27, 2023
CAMDEN CITY, NJ – U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) today announced $750,000 in new funding that the congressman secured in the FY 2023 omnibus package. The money will be used to stabilize Berth 1 at the Balzano Marine Terminal so the port can meet increasing business activity.

“The ‘liquid highway’ that is the Delaware River is an economic lifeline for South Jersey and the surrounding region,” said Congressman Norcross. “By investing in our critical infrastructure, we are increasing the capacity of our ports and local businesses to access markets not just here in South Jersey, but across the country. Additionally, this funding will create good-paying jobs. I’m proud to have fought for this funding in Congress and look forward to seeing the positive economic impact this project has on our region.”

“We want to thank Congressman Norcross for his advocacy in Washington and his ongoing support of our mission at the South Jersey Ports,” said Andy Saporito, executive director and CEO of the South Jersey Port Corporation. “This investment directly translates into job retention and creation – from the construction workers who will build it, to the dockworkers loading and unloading ships, to the truckers hauling the cargo, to jobs in the industries on the end of the supply chain. It’s a multiplier that is great for our link in the global supply chain.”

“The Port of Camden is one of the busiest along the east coast, so this funding will go a long way to ensure it remains an economic engine,” said Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen. “I am grateful to Congressman Donald Norcross for fighting for this critical funding, grateful for his commitment to invest in much-needed infrastructure upgrades, and grateful for new employment opportunities coming to Camden and this region.”

The funding is one of 15 local projects Congressman Norcross secured funding for in the FY 2023 omnibus funding package. In total, he brought back over $10 million in community project funding for New Jersey’s 1st Congressional District.

About the Infrastructure Improvements at Berth 1 of Balzano Marine Terminal
Berth 1, which is adjacent to the location of the Battleship New Jersey, has been progressively collapsing over the past 20 years, rendering the structure unsafe and off-limits for use. At the west wall of the adjacent Transit Shed 1 building, which is used to store cargo and load rail cars, voids have developed due to the washout of the shoreline. The recent surge in business activity necessitates these repairs to enable the Port to better utilize the shed for cargo storage and transfer to rail cars for transcontinental delivery.

The scope of work will entail removing the northern portion of existing collapsed Berth 1 material and placing riprap stone to reestablish shoreline stability, thus preventing further washout of the material and voids from forming at the existing west side of the Transit Shed 1 building. This early-action construction project is part of a planned program for the Balzano Marine Terminal berth improvement program when additional funding sources become available.

About the South Jersey Port Corporation
The South Jersey Port Corporation was created in 1968 to operate marine shipping terminals in the South Jersey Port District which consists of seven counties: Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland, Mercer and Cape May. The SJPC is a quasi-state agency, which reports through the Department of Treasury to the Governor of New Jersey.
The purpose of this state-created corporation is to provide meaningful public employment, tax ratables and business incentives to the South Jersey region. The SJPC owns and operates the Joseph A. Balzano and Broadway Marine Terminals in the Port of Camden, the Salem Marine Terminal at the Port of Salem, and is constructing the second phase of Paulsboro Marine Terminal at the Port of Paulsboro.


For the Delaware River Stevedores (DRS) new leader Andy Sentyz, it’s a role that has deep roots in his family. “I’m a third-generation stevedore,” said Sentyz with pride. “My grandfather was a stevedore. So were four of his five sons, including my father. So, when I was 18 years old and found out that I was going to be a dad – my father told me: ‘You’re going to the docks. You’re going to work. You got a family to support.” He worked his way up through the ranks and possesses first-hand knowledge of the frontline operations of loading and unloading ships and the critical importance the stevedores’ role in the supply chain.

For families, like Sentyz’s, living in the brick rowhomes along the South Philadelphia waterfront, the docks of Camden and Philadelphia were – and still are – a place where you didn’t have to go to college – or even high school – to make good money to support your family if you were willing to work hard.

Now, at 44 years old and a quarter of a century later, the South Philly high school dropout – who earned his high school diploma, college degree and MBA while a working fulltime as a stevedore – is a grandfather and president of DRS with a staff of thirty that manages 250 union stevedores who handled a million tons of cargo last year from rolled, coiled and structural steel to plywood, cocoa beans, plywood and lumber.

He commands DRS’s operations in Camden, New Jersey; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Wilmington, Delaware in a maritime world that has morphed from his grandfather’s days of the cargo hook and muscle to a more sophisticated, efficient, mechanized, and safer operation.

“We work hand-in-glove with South Jersey Port Corporation’s (SJPC) Executive Director and CEO Andy Saporito and his team,” Sentyz said. “They are our partners. They do a fantastic job bringing unique value to our mutual customers. Collectively, DRS and SJPC understand that without the customers there is no SJPC, no DRS. So, we work together in a way that makes the line between the SJPC and DRS invisible to the customer.

“We don’t win customers on price. We’re an all International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) union operation which means we are paying living wages and benefits that comes at a higher cost. To keep a customer, we must constantly provide customers with service that exceeds the premium they are paying. We win and keep them based upon the consistent quality of our collective customer service. That means our labor partners – our ILA stevedores – and Andy Saporito and his team at the South Jersey Port and DRS work seamlessly on customer satisfaction…a happy customer is a constant customer,” Sentyz added.

Following in the footsteps of one of his mentors, recently retired DRS president Robert Palaima, it’s Sentyz’s job to lead DRS into the next generation of a constantly evolving maritime cargo business by balancing the needs of greater efficiency and productivity with safety, cargo integrity, and the conversion to “greener operations” to address the negative impacts of climate change.

Over the past 25 years, international cargo volume increasingly moved to containers for greater efficiency and the supply chain tightened as industry and manufactures slashed onsite inventory in favor of just-in-time supply. “Whatever shippers could fit into containers and do it cost-effectively, they containerized,” explained Sentyz. “Over time, supply chains meant producers didn’t need to tie up their money in warehouses filled with inventory if the supplies they need arrived on time in the production process. When the pandemic hit, this just-in-time supply chain broke. Freight rates for containers doubled, tripled, quadrupled. An extreme example is a 40-foot container from Asia through the West Coast that cost $4,000 went as high as $40,000.”

Shippers recalibrated their cargo balance and, where feasible, shifted some cargos, especially raw materials, to break bulk. “What I am hearing from many customers is that they are planning to keep at least a portion of their cargo in breakbulk so they can keep some resiliency in their supply chains so they don’t get the same sticker shock that they experienced over the last several years,” explained Sentyz. “I think the old mentality in the supply chain was to use just-in-time to drive down inventory holding costs. Now, with all the supply chain problems, people are realizing that they need to keep more inventory whether at ports or at inland facilities.”

While DRS will continue to nimbly morph to deal with the never-ending challenges of the industry, there are two immutable things that have been the hallmark of DRS’s corporate culture that will never change; focusing and prioritizing safety and customer service.
“The safety of our employees, the dock and ship crews are paramount to everything else,” said Sentyz. “There are lots of dangers flying around a marine terminal with accidents waiting to happen if you don’t adhere to safe work practices. We want our people to go home the way they came to work; safe and sound and in good health.” Sentyz speaks from experience. As a young 25-year-old crane operator, he injured his shoulder on the job. Thankfully, it wasn’t more serious but his longshoring days ended and he landed a supervisor’s job that became available. He credits his journey to leadership to DRS executives Bob Palaima and Chuck Farthing who became his mentors and encouraged him to go to college while still working and then to get an MBA – solidifying his success on the management track.

The second equally important bedrock principle of DRS is customer service. “Our business is happy customers, worker-safety, and a green, environmental-sustainable operation.”
DRS takes climate change seriously and is greening its cargo-handling fleet as fast as possible within the constraints of available green technology, terminal infrastructure to support it and an erratic supply chain on electric vehicles. “We’ll get there but the greatest obstacles right now are the supply chain, lack of charging infrastructure, sufficient electric supply, and battery capacity,” Sentyz lamented. “In the interim, we’re using the cleanest burning equipment we can as we continue down the path to lower our emissions and our operational footprint. It can take up to 84 weeks right now from order to delivery of an electric vehicle with a battery capacity for an 8-hour shift and we work 13-hour shifts at a time. It sounds daunting but evolving technology will solve the equipment issues and SJPC is working to get the electric it needs and the charging infrastructure to support greener port operations. Whether its customer service, worker-safety, or protecting this planet that we all share, we’re in a collaborative partnership to get things done.”


The successful 30-year partnership between Clipper Americas shipping lines of Copenhagen and the South Jersey Ports was marked – not by bands or the popping of champagne corks – but by the orchestra of cranes, forklifts, and cargo-moving equipment as crews off-load rolls of high-quality European steel coils, tin, and structural steel from Clipper ships. The materials are then instantly dispatched and transported to manufacturers and construction projects throughout the heartland of America and Canada.

“Our business and tonnage grew tremendously at the South Jersey Ports from one ship a month 30 years ago, to now when we have three to four off-loading in Camden in a month,” said Peter Svensson, Senior Vice President, Clipper Americas. “Tonnage to Camden grew from under 200,000 tons a year to over 1 million last year. Our customers, especially our specialty steel customers, expect quality service and that is what our partnership delivers.”

It’s a partnership that has prevailed – and continued to thrive – over several economic recessions, a near-depression, changes in trade policies and a global pandemic that leaves persistent impacts.

Now add to the challenges-climate change and the need for everyone, from individuals to large corporations, to reduce their carbon footprint to protect our planet. “We survived 50 years in this industry by adapting to the challenges before us,” Peter explained. “Climate change is real. Reducing carbon emissions is a shared priority for our company and South Jersey Ports,” said Peter. “Working with South Jersey Port on our dunnage recycling program has virtually saved a small forest. Our fleet will continue to be among the most energy-efficient on the seas.”

Clipper is attacking the problem on a variety of fronts including investing in an increasingly efficient fleet with dramatically lower CO2 emissions and the dockside recycling of dunnage.
In the past, it was simply cheaper to dispose of the wood dunnage used in transit to support steel cargo than hauling back to the originating port. The wood dunnage that went into the landfill was replaced by freshly cut lumber. Climate concerns have changed that. The wood dunnage is now loaded by crews into cargo containers and returned to the originating port, and as the wood loses its viability, it is being replaced by plastic and rubber dunnage with a greater shelf-life that can be recycled.

New ratings of ships for CO2 emissions, set by the European Common Market, go into effect in 2024 that will impose increasing financial penalties on levels of CO2s the vessel releases into the atmosphere. The lower the efficiency rating of the ship, the more it must pay to sail, giving a competitive edge to ships with higher efficiency ratings and lower CO2 emissions.

“We’re confident our current fleet will be rated among the most highly efficient,” predicted Peter. “I’m also confident that as technologies evolve and our fleet turns over, it will continue to be a leader in reducing emissions. It’s good business. It’s good for the environment. It’s the right thing to do as we and our families share this planet too.”

It’s a business axiom that has been the foundation of the partnership between Clipper and the South Jersey Ports. “As a marine terminal operator, we can’t control global economics, trade policy or pandemics but we sure can control two things: our carbon footprint and the quality of customer service that we and our partner Clipper and the stevedores provide to our mutual customers,” said Andy Saporito, Executive Director and CEO of the South Jersey Port.

Good customer service translates into higher efficiency and lower emissions. “Get in, get off,” Peter explained. “The quicker we get into the port, off-load, and get off to sea, the more efficient our ships run which lowers emissions. Good for business. Good for the environment.”

Clipper is a vital link in the steel supply chain to North America. The flow of specialty metal products from the steel and tin plants throughout Europe course through the ports of Belgium to Clipper’s ships and ultimately to manufacturers in North America for cars, appliances, building, and highway construction.

Over three decades, South Jersey Port’s Balzano Marine Terminal in Camden, New Jersey became a franchise port of call for Clipper. It’s importance and tonnage grew, especially in winter months, as shippers of European specialty steel for manufacturers along the Great Lakes found the Camden port a reliable, efficient, and skilled replacement for the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Now “winter-steel” business at Camden is growing towards a year-round port of choice.

“Location is important, and Camden has excellent road and rail connections to the industrial heartland, everything is within hours of our terminals – a day at most,” said Saporito. “But the x-factor is the partnership and the cargo expertise that has been forged over these decades with Clipper, the stevedores, and South Jersey Port. There is a seamless relationship with one goal: a happy customer keeps coming back and spreads the word to new customers.”