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Author : Dennis Culnan

New Jersey Puts Down its Marker to be the Epicenter of the Job-rich Offshore Wind Industry

Officials from the State of New Jersey and South Jersey Port Corporation recently announced the nation’s largest investment to date in industrial offshore wind energy. The state committed to a $250 million investment in EEW manufacturing facilities for Ørsted at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal to develop and support wind-energy turbine farms off the Atlantic coast.

The investment will turn the once defunct petrochemical tank farm at Paulsboro Marine Terminal, a major deep-water port along the Delaware River, into a manufacturing hub for offshore-wind energy while continuing to be a general marine terminal for a host of cargos.

The development of the New Jersey Wind Port in Lower Alloways Township, together with the construction of the new manufacturing facility at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal, is a monumental step forward in solidifying New Jersey as the country’s leader in offshore wind and clean energy procurement.

“Developing New Jersey’s offshore wind capabilities has been a key priority of my administration since taking office in 2018,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “Offshore wind is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that allows us to protect our environment while significantly expanding and securing the state’s economy for the immediate and long term. This is the largest industrial offshore wind investment in the United States to date and will create hundreds of high-paying jobs at a time when New Jersey’s economy has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Coupled with the creation of the New Jersey Wind Port that I announced earlier this year, this investment will continue to cement New Jersey as the leader in offshore wind in the United States.”

“This is an important step forward that will support a new era of economic development and job growth in South Jersey with the ability to produce economic benefits for generations to come,” added New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney who has been on a 20-year mission to turn the Paulsboro tank farm in into a regional economic engine. “Wind energy is our future – it’s clean, it’s safe, and it offers the opportunity for New Jersey to be a dominant leader in creating a new sector to our economy. Bringing offshore-wind manufacturers to New Jersey is key to making the state a hub of the supply chain for wind energy products and services. The new headquarters for EEW will locate a leading manufacturer of monopiles to the Paulsboro Terminal, where it will help make the port a thriving center of commerce. The collaboration between the public and private sectors to get this done is a powerful reminder of what we have to do to create economic opportunities and what we can do to promote offshore wind energy.”

“This is where the dream of protecting our planet, protecting and creating family-sustaining jobs, and building a new industry becomes reality,” said Andy Saporito, CEO and Executive Director of the South Jersey Port Corporation. “It becomes a reality because of the vision and commitment of the State of New Jersey, our Governor, Senate President, legislature, and congressional delegation.”

“EEW is delighted to establish our latest manufacturing operations in New Jersey, as a major step forward for the offshore wind industry, and further establishing EEW as the global leader in monopile foundations,” said Christoph Schorge, CEO EEW-group based out of Erndtebrück Germany. “EEW’s manufacturing technology and years of experience will bring forward a factory capable of producing the world largest foundations required to support the ever-increasing wind turbines of the future”

“The Governor’s announcement of this massive manufacturing facility at the Port of Paulsboro demonstrates New Jersey’s commitment to clean energy and the creation of hundreds of long-term manufacturing jobs,” said Lee Laurendeau, CEO of EEW-American Offshore Structures. “This state-of-the-art factory will be a catalyst for change in Paulsboro and the surrounding area, creating much-needed construction, manufacturing, and supply chain jobs for many decades. Along with the New Jersey Wind Port, the Paulsboro monopile factory will secure New Jersey’s position as the manufacturing epicenter of the emerging Offshore Wind Industry. EEW would like to thank the Governor and Orsted for their commitment and support in enabling this exciting opportunity for South Jersey.”

“This announcement represents a significant milestone for the Ocean Wind project and New Jersey’s offshore wind goals,” said David Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of Ørsted Offshore North America. “New Jersey is poised to be a leader in the American offshore wind industry with key investments in its port infrastructure, like the Port of Paulsboro and the New Jersey Wind Port. As the state looks to rebuild its economy post-COVID-19, Ørsted will be there to partner with the state to create jobs, and opportunities for local suppliers to enter into this new American industry.”

The two-phase investment in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility to build steel components, known as monopiles, for offshore wind turbines that will serve the entire United States offshore wind industry. The facility, which will be located at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal in Gloucester County, is the largest industrial offshore wind investment in the United States to date and will create more than 500 high-paying jobs at full build-out. Construction on the facility will break ground in January 2021, with production beginning in 2023.

In June 2020, Governor Murphy announced plans to develop the New Jersey Wind Port in Lower Alloways Township, a first-in-the-nation infrastructure investment that will provide a location for essential staging, assembly, and manufacturing activities related to offshore wind projects on the East Coast.

“This major investment shows that America’s clean energy future is being built right here in South Jersey. The new wind turbine manufacturing site will power our economy by building the clean technology that will power our homes and businesses,” said Congressman Donald Norcross. “The need to transition to a clean energy economy is more important than ever before, and I applaud Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, EEW, and Holt for recognizing that and taking action. Critically, this project will generate hundreds of union construction jobs and I look forward to seeing the great work of our local building trades members.”

“This headquarters agreement to support offshore wind projects will lead to the creation of hundreds of high-paying, sustainable jobs which will greatly benefit the region and its residents,” said Assemblyman John Burzichelli. “I applaud Governor Murphy for helping us take a major step in cementing New Jersey as the leader in offshore wind projects along the eastern seaboard. This is a prime example of public investment paying dividends for the residents of our state.”

“Offshore wind presents an amazing opportunity for New Jersey to build a stronger, fairer economy while creating more clean energy and advancing important environmental justice goals. The offshore wind industry is growing rapidly, and thanks to Governor Murphy’s vision, New Jersey is well-positioned to be a hub for the American industry,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “As the first major offshore wind supply chain investment in the northeast, EEW’s manufacturing headquarters in Paulsboro will create new opportunities for New Jersey businesses and attract more offshore wind companies to New Jersey. EEW’s strong track record of apprenticeship programs will also help position New Jersey’s workers for the best opportunities in offshore wind. Along with the New Jersey Wind Port in Lower Alloways Creek, this project will pave the way for long-term, equitable economic growth throughout New Jersey.”

“I have no doubt that through offshore wind we are laying the foundation for a prosperous and equitable future,” said a New Jersey Board of Public Utilities representaive. “Establishing New Jersey as the East Coast hub of this exciting industry is paramount to the Governor’s vision for a clean energy innovation economy that works for all residents. The Board selected Ocean Wind as New Jersey’s first offshore wind project for the economic benefits and supply chain development opportunities, like Paulsboro Marine Terminal, that would bring additional value to the state. I applaud Ørsted and EEW for their commitment to these aims, and look forward to the success of offshore wind in New Jersey.”

“Whether on the road or in the water, strong transportation access is at the heart of economic success,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “The New Jersey Department of Transportation takes pride in being a part of this important port project by providing funding for road infrastructure and dredging operations.”

“The South Jersey Port Corporation welcomes EEW and Ørstedto Paulsboro,” said Andrew Saporito, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, South Jersey Port Corporation. “This new public-private project positions our ports as the epicenter of the rapidly growing Offshore Wind Energy projects, both in New Jersey and along the East Coast. This partnership represents a pivotal next step for the development of the Paulsboro Marine Terminal. It will bring jobs to the region during the construction of the facility and new highly-skilled full-time jobs to staff it upon completion, as well as additional jobs for waterfront labor responsible for handling the associated cargo and completed monopoles.”

“The Governor’s announcement represents a major investment in the future of wind energy in New Jersey,” said Tom Holt Jr., Principal of Paulsboro Waterfront development, the Holt real estate arm that serves as landlord of the Paulsboro Marine Terminal. “But it also creates exciting potential to support hundreds of new jobs in the wind energy logistics business – that is, the creation of new business opportunities to support wind energy in New Jersey. We applaud the Governor’s leadership on wind energy, and we look forward to partnering in the development of a whole new wind logistics support industry in Paulsboro and all along the Delaware River and Atlantic Ocean.”

“I’m proud to be part of this landmark event that will provide long term sustainable jobs for the southern New Jersey economy, while also helping the Governor meet his goals for his Energy Master Plan and providing another milestone project that provides green energy,” said Dan Cosner, IBEW 351 and South Jersey Building Trades.

SJPC Welcomes New Board Member Bill Higgins

The South Jersey Port Corporation is pleased to announce the appointment of its newest board member William R. Higgins of Monroeville, NJ. The highly decorated retired New Jersey State Police captain served on SJPC’s senior management staff from 2007 to 2012 and returns now as a board member.

“We’re delighted to have Billy on the board,” said board chair Richard A. Alaimo. “He is the first former employee of the SJPC to serve on the board and he brings with him vast institutional knowledge and experience of the daily operations of our terminals. That perspective is valuable as we work to achieve our service goals while facing the unique challenges of these times.”

Governor Phil Murphy appointed Higgins to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Fran Smith. Board members serve 5-year terms and are responsible for adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance for operations of the port, ensuring a sustainable future.

Higgins served in various leadership roles during his 25-year career in law enforcement with the New Jersey State Police including a detail on the New Jersey State Police Executive Protection Unit protecting Governor James J. Florio, commands with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement and Casino Gaming Enforcement units, and chief of the Intelligence Bureau. He also led a 100-trooper contingent reinforcing Camden Police Department in its fight against gang violence in the community.
Following his retirement from the New Jersey State Police as a captain in 2006, Higgins served five years as a member of the senior management staff of the SJPC, where he became SJPC’s Director of Port Facilities Security, Human Resources, and Safety Officer. Serving with distinction, he learned all aspects of the SJPC’s services, organizational objectives, rank and file concerns, as well as the management structure.

In 2012 he returned to law enforcement as Deputy Chief of County Detectives for the Salem County Prosecutor’s Office. He retired again in 2014 to become the President & CEO of RSP Command Inc, a security firm based in Atlantic City.

“I’m looking forward to returning to SJPC and serving on the board. Building on the success of the port and maintaining growth is critical to our regional economy and I am committed to that mission,” said Higgins. The port has grown in recent years from handling 2 million tons of cargo annually to 4 million. With the opening of the Port of Paulsboro and the development of wind energy, SJPC is poised to continue that growth in the coming years.

Higgins resides in Monroeville with his wife Beth and they are proud parents of five grown sons and have three grandchildren.

It’s a “Can-Do” Partnership Focused on Customer Satisfaction

“For more than four decades the dockside gangs from Delaware River Stevedores (DRS) have teamed with the South Jersey Port Corporation’s (SJPC) crews to deliver the reliable, drama-free, high-quality, efficient services that our mutual customers depend upon,” Andy Saporito, said the CEO of SJPC.
“We’ve had a very long and successful business at the South Jersey Port terminals because of our mutual goals and collaboration,” explained Robert W. Palaima, DRS’s president. “Our mutual success is built on the tonnage we move through the SJPC terminals, and the more cargo we handle, the more jobs with good salaries and benefits we create.”

It’s a successful partnership from the dock to the warehouse to the office. It’s built on mutual respect, shared experience, and almost indistinguishable except for logos on the hardhat. Everyone knows their task – as well as that of their partners – and they are always flexible to deal with the inevitable variables: weather, late arrivals, special-handling cargo.

It requires choreography of an always-changing, international, multi-lingual cast of dockside gangs, ship crews, truckers, and railroad crews. “Our crews are a Swiss Army Knife of adaptability to always-changing cargo,” says Palaima. “Whether it’s specialty steel or cattle, our expertise in special handling and our adaptability is key to our ‘trust’ formula.”

Tata Steel Europe invested its trust in the ability of the SJ Port / DRS partnership to handle their steel shipments to the American industrial heartland during the winter months when the Saint Lawrence Seaway is closed because it is unsafe to navigate. Initially, it started out small but as the SJ Port / DRS partnership exceeded expectations, the business relationship has grown exponentially – even beyond the ice season.

At South Jersey Port Corporation in Camden, DRS handles breakbulk steel from Northern Europe and Korea, cocoa beans from Ivory Coast, and plywood from Malaysia and Indonesia. Major customers include Clipper Steel Services, Tata Steel Europe, Thyssen Krupp Steel North America, ArcelorMittal, Western Bulk Carriers, Oldendorff, Unicargo, SK Shipping Co., Ltd., PACC Line PTE, Ltd. and John Lawrie Tubulars.

DRS generates more than 650,000-man-hours per year in the tri-state area of the Philadelphia- Camden Port and is known for its ability to handle about any type of cargo—from cattle to cars to cocoa beans—even massive beer-making tanks from Germany to satisfy the demand for local breweries.
That all translates into jobs – good-paying, family-sustaining jobs – which is a key goal of the South Jersey Port Corporation.

“We are all hungry and we never forget how competitive our industry is,” added CEO Saporito. “We all recognize our jobs – from our administrative offices to the wharves to the security gates and the warehouses – depend on our customers – our current customers and future customers. We only succeed if they succeed.” “That’s the focus of our partnership,” Palaima emphasized. “Happy, successful customers and jobs!”

Winter Steel is Coming…and Coming Strong

The SJPC anticipates winter steel volumes, savaged by the COVID-19 global recession and punishing tariffs, will increase significantly this winter as manufacturers replenish inventories to gear up production as COVID-19 vaccines come online.

Manufacturers and steel importers depend on the South Jersey Port as a trusted link in their supply chain.

With harsh winters closing the Saint Lawrence Seaway by creating unsafe, unreliable shipping to Chicago, Cleveland, and Milwaukee, steel shippers have opted for SJPC’s safer, more reliable Balzano Marine Terminal for their winter shipments to the industrial Mid-West.

Teaming with Delaware River Stevedores(DRS), SJPC has had an excellent multi-year experience in handling steel year-round but critically during the winter months. The entire team is very customer-focused. We work with the customers. We listen and we respond.

We are very sensitive to the careful and timely handling of our steel coils off the ship, onto trucks, onto rail cars, into warehouses, and out of the terminal and onto the customer. We work to earn our customers’ trust and business.

“We take it very seriously,” Andy Saporito, Executive Director and CEO explained. “We develop a close working relationship and mutual confidence between the shipper and our terminal partners DRS. Our shared focus is customer satisfaction, our customer’s success is our success.”

The SJPC’s deepwater ports are highly efficient terminals with dock-side rail and warehousing. They are within a day’s truck haul of the northeast, the midwestern industrial base of the United States and eastern Canada. A roll of steel off-loaded in our terminals, can arrive at plants throughout the Midwest, eastern Canada and from Montreal to the Carolinas in as little as a half a day…and it arrives as pristine as humanly possible.

Committed to ensuring seamless cargo movement from ship to dockside rail, we recently completed a rebuild of our rail loading dock and rail siding in time for the winter steel season and are investing $7 million – financed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) for further upgrades. NJDOT has provided SJPC over $10 million in the last five years for rail improvement projects through the state’s Rail Freight Assistance Program (RFAP). “Whether on the road, rail or in the water, strong transportation access is at the heart of economic success,” NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said.

Approximately 40% of the winter steel moving through SJPC’s Balzano Marine Terminal in Camden is transported by “Class A” rail to Mid-West and Mid-South manufacturing locations in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and the Carolinas.

Safe handling is a critical component to the ongoing success of the program. Recently we installed high-intensity lighting in warehouses devoted to steel storage and we hold regular quality control meetings with Tata and Thyssen Krupp to adhere to safe handling standards aimed at minimizing worker injuries and damage to steel coils.

Our team has become experts in the safe and careful handling of these very expensive rolls of steel and we are focused on zero damage.

Tata Steel Europe and Thyssen Krupp Steel North America use the Balzano Marine Terminal throughout the year but particularly during the winter to bring steel coils from the Netherlands and Germany to their manufacturing plants in Pennsylvania and Ohio and to other buyers throughout the Midwest.

In 2019, Tata Steel International and Thyssen Krupp Steel accounted for 16% of the SJPC steel imports.

NLMK, the Russian steel company, accounts for over 60% of SJPC’s total ferrous product imports, operating year-round at our Paulsboro Marine Terminal to supply their three U.S. finishing plants.

Tariffs on steel imports combined with the COVID pandemic depressed our steel import business in 2020, particularly NLMK’s imports from Russia. Imports of Brazilian steel are now ramping to marginally mitigate the decline in Russian steel imports but Brazilian volume is constrained by quota limits.

The SJPC expects that trend to reverse this season as vaccines to neutralize the virus come online and a new administration takes over in Washington help to reinvigorate the global economy and consumer demand.

A key indicator of the strength of our winter steel business and a harbinger of things to come will be the first quarter of 2021. While still early in the anticipated recovery, the strength of our winter steel business through January, February, and March will be a good indicator of the anticipated rebound.

South Jersey Port Taking Steps to Save Energy

The South Jersey Port is taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint and save the planet from the effects of climate change. We are working on many fronts – from investments in energy-efficient equipment to the development of offshore wind.

One such initiative is our Green Energy Lighting Project. The project will provide our employees with better lighting, reduce our energy costs, and dramatically reduce our carbon footprint – a trifecta.
We’ve invested $500,000 in clean, carbon-neutral LED lighting throughout our terminals. The new lighting will reduce our electric bill by $77,000 per year, paying off our investment in less than seven years. Given the 15-year longevity of LED bulbs and increasing energy costs, the port will realize dramatic savings for years to come. We are also storing the old bulbs to be used as replacements in other buildings to further save money and eliminate waste.

When crews complete the project, we will realize a 600,000-kilowatt-hours reduction in electricity consumption, further helping to reduce the demand on the electrical grid. This is enough energy savings to offset the usage of 73 homes. The bottom line is that we all must do our part to minimize greenhouse gases for the sake of our planet and our livelihood.

Winter Storm Preparations

SJPC is monitoring the potential for a winter storm arriving Wednesday Dec 16 into Thursday Dec 17. Realizing that this may be lighter or heavier than expected, we are nevertheless making preparations with snow removal and salting equipment at the ready. As of now, we are planning to keep our Camden terminals operating, but will make allowances if any cargo handling activities need to be modified for safety reasons.

SOUTH JERSEY PORT OPENS COCOA BEAN SEASON TO FEED AMERICA’S CHOCOLATE CRAVING

Camden, N.J. – Americans need their chocolate fix – even more in a pandemic – and it’s the South Jersey Port’s mission to help satisfy it.

On December 16, the annual flow of high-quality cocoa beans from West Africa will begin a month early when 215,000 sacks of cocoa beans are off-loaded at the Joseph A. Balzano Marine Terminal in Camden from the ship “Four Diamonds.”

“Working with our partners, Camden International Commodities Terminals and Delaware River Stevedores, we’ve become the premier cocoa bean import terminal on the East Coast,” Andy Saporito, CEO and Executive Director of SJPC.

The cocoa bean business means more jobs. In addition to the scores of full-time terminal workers, hundreds of local day-laborers are hired throughout the season to sort, store, and handle millions of sacks of cocoa beans for final processing by major confectionary companies including chocolate giants: Hershey, Mars, and Blommer.

Last year,  two million burlap bags (40,000 tons) of cocoa beans were slung off ships by DRS stevedores, onto SJPC’s patented trolleys, and hauled immediately by Champion Trucking into the CICT warehouse across the street from the Balzano Terminal.

“Our process at South Jersey Port is far more efficient than containerized beans,” Jeff Wheeler, president of CICT explained. “We eliminate that additional step of loading and unloading millions of bags of beans from containers – both here and at the source.”

“It is a seamless team effort from ship to warehouse honed over 20 years of expert experience to deliver every bean,” added Robert Palaima of Delaware River Stevedores.  

It’s hard manual work, a South Jersey Port expertise.

“It’s the hardest work on the waterfront,” Wheeler added. “We’ll be offloading 215,000 bags from the ‘Four Diamonds.’ Each bag weighs 150 pounds! Our people don’t shy away from it. They’ve developed the skills that make our terminal the most efficient handler of chocolate gold.”

“For most of our day-labor crews, it’s a family affair: fathers and sons, aunts and nieces, brother and sister, uncles and nephews. And they’re getting a nice payday before Christmas. We’re all excited when the ship comes in!”

The 14,000 tons of beans brought in by the “Four Diamonds” is the first installment on what is hoped to be a rebounding cocoa bean import business that was damaged last year by market effects of COVID-19.

Chocolate is an impulse buy and perfecting the balance of supply and demand has been extraordinarily complex as confectionary companies realign their marketing strategies from brick and mortar stores to digital in order to energize sales.

“We believe we’re going to see a significant rebound in chocolate demand, especially as vaccines against COVID come online,” said Wheeler. “Cocoa bean inventories in the U.S. are comparatively low, need to be replenished and, as consumption ticks up, so will the need for more imports.” 

The West African import season runs through April and is followed by months of imports of cocoa beans from evolving Central American growers.