South Jersey Port Corporation moved their corporate headquarters to the Camden waterfront last week. We are occupying office space in the Ferry Terminal Building which is just a short drive from the Balzano Marine Terminal. The new office will allow SJPC to consolidate the executive, engineering, administrative, and accounting departments into one location allowing for better efficiency and meeting space for business development and administrative functions. The move will also result in creating additional space to meet future port operational and space needs. Our new address is 2 Aquarium Drive, Suite 100, Camden NJ 08103.
“2021 was our best business year ever,” Michael J. Amato, president of Camden Yards Steel Company at the South Jersey Ports’ Broadway Terminal proclaimed proudly as he cast an optimistic but cautious eye toward 2022.
Sales volumes and imported tonnage of steel all hit record levels in 2021 for the family-owned-and-operated steel fabricator which, in turn, contributed in part to an overall record tonnage year for the South Jersey Ports. The company increased its steel imports by 20% to 200,000 tons last year.
Camden Yards Steel is an International Organization for Standards (ISO) certified prime flat rolled steel service company that specializes in the processing and distribution of full truckload quantities flat rolled steel. With over fifty years of experience in the steel industry, they service customers across the entire United States and parts of the Mid-Atlantic region.
“Camden Yards Steel has been a great long-term partner of ours and is an example of the type of family-owned business that is the backbone of our economy,” said Andy Saporito, Executive Director and CEO of South Jersey Port Corporation. “We congratulate them on their record-breaking year and look forward to continuing to support their growth and success.”
“Our business has grown steadily since we opened in 2002 and we just invested another $10 million in our Camden facility to upgrade our equipment and sharpen our business in a very competitive sector that demands high quality and tight margins,” Amato added.
The investment has increased efficiency and productivity and propelled Camden Yards into a new business sector of galvanized steel for HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) manufacturers where other long-time suppliers, according to Amato, had grown complacent.
“We are very, very service oriented and very, very customer-oriented,” he boasted. “We showed we provide service and quality at a competitive price and as a result our galvanized steel business has grown consistently and dramatically, from 200 tons a month six years ago to 4,000 tons a month last year and it keeps growing from Maine to Florida to Ohio,” he said. “The leadership at South Jersey Ports helped us find laydown space to support our business growth, which was appreciated given the overall space constraints at ports nationwide.”
While optimistic about the future, the steel-eyed businessperson in Amato is cautious about predicting a consecutive record-breaking year in 2022. While it would be nice, realistically businesses just do not keep having endless record-breaking years especially in a business hostage to variables in steel prices.
Camden Yards, with fifty full-time employees to support in Camden, was able to navigate the whipsaw impacts of COVID, steel tariffs, supply-chain shortage in 2021 in which steel prices rose to $1.00 a pound with pent up demand; and then, suddenly dropped to 30-cents a pound, sticking the company with high priced inventory to meet its commitments.
“Half of our business is contractual, and half is transactional,” he explained. “We are committed to our customers to deliver what we said we would deliver, when we said we deliver and at the price we agreed on.”
It just happens that the price for steel goes way, way too high and then suddenly goes way, way too low.
“We try to buy on the down but it’s like trying to catch a falling knife without getting cut,” Amato explained. Sometimes you catch the handle, sometimes you don’t. Whatever, the outcome, Amato protects his customers. “That’s how we earn the trust and business of our customers,” he said. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is expected to have a major impact on the world economy in 2022, especially on steel prices. “We don’t use Russian steel for our products, so we don’t anticipate any dramatic impact for our customers, but we’ll deal with whatever high and lows as we have in the past. It’s the nature of our business.”
South Jersey Port Corporation Announces Appointment of Chris Perks to Director of Engineering Position
The South Jersey Port Corporation is pleased to announce the recent appointment of veteran engineer Chris Perks to the organization’s team. Perks was appointed as the Director of Engineering to support the agency’s growth strategy and continue to provide quality customer service for current and future tenants and customers. The appointment of Perks comes as the port closed on a record-breaking year for cargo handling and a flurry of capital projects, improvements, and milestones of the burgeoning offshore wind energy industry in South Jersey. Ensuring a strong leadership team has been a mission of Andrew Saporito, the agency’s Executive Director and CEO, who has assembled an experienced leadership team since first being appointed in 2019.
Perks has extensive experience in local public works engineering and construction markets and experience in project engineering related to design and construction of multi-disciplined large capital projects. He has previously and successfully participated in numerous capital improvement programs for a wide variety of clients, including many public and state agencies. In addition to his vast public experience, Perks was responsible for integrating and completing over sixty projects in Camden City, home to the port’s headquarters and Balzano and Broadway terminal facilities.
Perks will add value through his rich experience and prolific ability to direct all design, construction, and maintenance activities at the port. With a solid engineering skillset, Perks will be tasked with executing significant tenant improvements, capital projects, major operation works, and construction programs. Moreover, Perk’s expertise will allow the port to rely on his capabilities of capital program management, ensuring port facilities remain in good condition and meeting and exceeding expectations for efficient operations.
“SJPC has a long tradition of hard-working employees who go the extra mile for our customers. Ensuring our facilities are meeting standards and keeping up pace with our plans for growth is key to our continued success and customer satisfaction. Having Chris on the team is a critical part of our strategy and we welcome him,” said Andrew Saporito, Executive Director & CEO.
“My experience has taught me that capital program management is not just to keep the facilities in good condition, but more importantly to support excellence in operations. I am excited to get to work and be part of a top-notch team with the mission of expanding economic opportunity in the South Jersey region,” said Perks.
The final numbers are in and the South Jersey Port Corporation closed out 2021 with an all-time record-breaking cargo volume of 4,636,097 tons, a 54% increase over 2020, breaking the previous record by 6%.
“That’s the best in the history of the South Jersey Ports and we’re expecting 2022 to be a very strong year that may top 2021,” reported Andy Saporito, Executive Director and CEO of South Jersey Port Corporation at the monthly meeting of the Board of Directors. “This milestone is a testament to the skilled workers and partners who keep goods moving through the supply chain while our team seeks solutions to improve efficiency, attract business and build for the future. The ongoing collaboration with SJPC’s labor force and industry partners lifted the port to this extraordinary record during the challenging time of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Saporito.
The dramatic increases in tonnage came from nearly all the SJPC’s prime cargo sectors: steel, plywood, recycled metals, cocoa beans, cement, and gypsum. The lone laggard, sand exports, is expected to increase as the national infrastructure plan is implemented.
Rebounding steel imports led the way with 2,399,076 tons, a 141% increase over 2020. The majority of this increase occurred at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal which moved 1,760,018 tons of steel slabs. Plywood import tonnage increased by 98% totaling 220,812 tons demonstrating the Camden terminals as a premiere plywood portal on the East Coast. Cocoa beans totaled 76,108 tons, a 36% increase verses 2020 totals. Exports of recycled metals increased by 10% and cement increased by 8%.
The number of ship days was 960 days compared to 549 ship days in 2020, a 75% increase. “Ship days is the number of days a ship is loading or unloading at its terminal” explained Kevin Duffy, Assistant Executive Director / Chief Operating Officer. “We’ve worked hard to ensure we continue to operate safely and efficiently to move the increased cargo and have space to meet our customers’ needs”.
Brendan Dugan, Assistant Executive Director / Director of Business Development, expects the cargo activity at South Jersey Ports to remain strong for the foreseeable future due to the national infrastructure plan and New Jersey’s leadership role in the $109 billion offshore wind industry. EEW Group, which is building a $300 million manufacturing plant at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal to provide the massive steel monopiles for the offshore wind farms along the entire eastern seaboard, will ultimately require 150,000 tons of imported steel annually to meet their customers’ demand. To build on this momentum, SJPC is conducting a study of the Port of Salem, which is a smaller port just down river from Paulsboro that could become an important supply port for the local offshore wind support services industry.
“The challenge is to build the infrastructure to grow the port while operating more efficiently to meet current demands,” said Dugan. South Jersey Ports received a $6 million grant to upgrade the rail infrastructure at one of their Camden terminals and a $9 million grant for wharf infrastructure improvements at the Salem Terminal. “We identified an old building that we might refurbish to put another 40,000 square feet of storage space online and meet long-term customer demands.”
“We continue to focus on upgrading technology and automation to optimize the fluid movement of cargo through our terminals and to ensure our customers’ storage and inventory needs are met”, added COO Kevin Duffy.
The South Jersey Port Corporation was created in 1968 to operate marine shipping terminals in the South Jersey Port District, consisting of seven counties: Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland, Mercer, and Cape May. The South Jersey Ports is a national leader in bulk and breakbulk cargo, shipping and receiving to and from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. Their four international seaport facilities in South Jersey handle more than four million tons of bulk, breakbulk and containerized cargoes annually.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) and Congressman Donald Norcross (D-N.J.-01) today announced $1,010,800 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to support the operations at Balzano Marine Terminal at the Port of Camden. The South Jersey Port Corporation (SJPC), which operates the marine terminal, will use the funding to purchase two American-made, low emission reach stackers, which will help improve operations and throughput at the terminal.
“With billions of dollars of goods coming through New Jersey’s ports every year, we must invest in their infrastructure to secure our competitiveness and keep our state and national economies moving,” said Sen. Menendez. “This federal grant will ensure Balzano Marine Terminal can continue moving goods and products in and out of the facility everyday smoothly and efficiently. Throughout my career, I have always advocated for our ports and I will continue fighting to make sure they have the critical resources they need.”
“We know that investing in South Jersey’s port infrastructure is a proven way to spur economic development, bolster our region’s economy, and create jobs,” said Sen. Booker. “I stand committed to continue fighting alongside Senator Menendez and Congressman Norcross for the federal resources needed to maintain the Port of Camden’s strength and economic competitiveness.”
“The Balzano Marine Terminal is a critical link in our supply chain and handles cargo that feeds directly into the broader economy,” said Rep. Norcross. “Increasing the number of low-emission reach stackers at the terminal will grow its capacity to offload and move goods, ease bottlenecks, and contribute to the South Jersey economy.”
Balzano Marine Terminal offers one-stop service for breakbulk and bulk cargoes. The facility handles steel, project cargo, wood products, cocoa beans and other bulk cargoes on a regular basis.
“Senator Menendez, Senator Booker and Congressman Norcross have been forceful and effective advocates for our ports in southern New Jersey,” said SJPC CEO Andrew Saporito. “This grant will support our continued efforts to operate the Balzano Marine Terminal more efficiently and utilize the marine highway which reduces the number of trucks on our roadways and neighborhoods. This is even more critical as we are moving record cargo volumes.”
South Jersey Ports offers on-demand commercial rail service to the Port of Salem with connections to both Class 1 Railroads – Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation. SMS Rail Lines provides the last mile to the port on the 19-mile branch owned by Salem County – which makes the Port of Salem competitive with many ports on the East Coast. Responsive rail service ensures that all the ports in Southern New Jersey serve as an integrated network offering importers and exporters necessary transportation options to move their goods. Freight rail continues to be the modal option to move breakbulk cargo off the port to consuming markets up and down the east coast as well as the mid-west.
In the past decade, $40 million has been invested to upgrade the Salem Rail Line. Cargo that has been handled on this line includes fertilizer products, fresh fruit and produce lumber, and aggregates that have come from both domestic and international points of origin. Rail service for industries in South Jersey and beyond offers better freight costs which strengthen companies’ bottom lines and supports growing jobs in the region. Having reliable rail service also gives companies a reason to look at Salem County as a potential location for their company.
In addition to operating the Port of Salem interconnection, SMS provides rail services to the Pureland Industrial Complex, a 3,000-acre industrial hub in Logan Township that is home to more than 120 companies, including Amazon, and has rail/truck intermodal capabilities to serve New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland markets.
The continuing upgrade of the regional rail lines is key to New Jersey’s plan to grow domestic economic development in the southern tip of the state and strengthen its leadership in the building and support of the $100 billion offshore wind energy industry. The $300 million Wind Port will be located seven miles south of the Port of Salem, providing the opportunity for a rail to barge service for the supply of offshore wind components.
Each Monday night, the Bermuda Islander sails from the Port of Salem for a Thursday docking at Bermuda’s Port of Hamilton with its weekly cargo of fresh produce, meats, and everyday consumer good – perhaps it seems mundane, but this service is vital to the islanders’ needs and the tourists that are Bermuda’s economy.
Since 1989, Bermuda International Shipping Ltd, a group mainly consisting of local importers and businesses in Bermuda, has shipped 35 percent of Bermuda’s consumer goods through the Port of Salem to its island paradise.
Most of the products arrive already consolidated in their containers from an established network of suppliers throughout the USA. Other suppliers take advantage of the excellent services provided by Mid-Atlantic Shipping and its managing owner Butch Irvine, who provide consolidation and storage services at their 9,000 square foot warehouse in Salem. Their 17 employees and reliable network of 25 truckers are locals who understand the need to go above and beyond to keep their customers happy and ensure that the Bermuda Islander is ready to leave port on Monday.
Loaded with 120 TEU’s containers, including 30 refrigerated, the shallow draft Bermuda Islander navigates weekly via the 16-foot-deep Salem River that flows into the Delaware River and Bay and the Atlantic Ocean on its’ three-day journey to Bermuda. It returns by Monday morning, off-loads the empty containers, reloads full containers, and sails back Monday night on schedule. Nearly two percent of the return containers are used to transport used recycling materials, including cooking oil, and the occasional belongings of a family migrating to a new home.
For decades, it has become the dependable and agile conveyor belt of supplies to Bermuda, through good weather and bad, moving 13,000 containers annually. The Bermuda Islander and Mid-Atlantic Shipping have been vital partners to the South Jersey Port Corporation and an economic generator in southern New Jersey. They have invested over $25 million in the facilities, infrastructure, and taxes over the years.
Hurricanes, legendry and fierce in the Caribbean in September and October, have had a minimal negative impact on the Salem to Hamilton supply chain. The Bermuda Islander is dedicated solely to the route. If necessary, it can ride out the storm in either port for the days it takes to blow over. Meanwhile, sensitive to the vulnerability during hurricane season, islander importers stockpile, well in advance, critical non-perishable supplies to tide them over through a series of storms.
The Port of Salem is part of an integrated network of ports in southern New Jersey that move over 4 million tons of cargo annually and are becoming the center of the supply, manufacturing, and assembly of the offshore wind industry on the East Coast. The Salem Marine Terminal offers direct access to road and rail service without the time-consuming and expensive delays associated with other larger East Coast ports.
Forget the computer-chip shortage. The world’s economy is starving for sand – the key ingredient of concrete – and southern New Jersey has plenty of it, and the port to transport it efficiently from source to builder: South Jersey Port Corporation’s Port of Salem.
Each year approximately 400,000 tons of sand is mined in Salem County and barged from Port of Salem Marine Terminal for construction projects in the metropolitan New Jersey/New York region and, in the process, eliminating 16,000, 25-ton trucks from New Jersey highways.
The ubiquitous grain of ancient sediment is the key ingredient of concrete – the indispensable building block of all construction. As the post-COVID economy rebounds and President Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure program kicks into gear the demand for southern New Jersey sand will grow.
Without sand, there’s no concrete. Without concrete, there’s no modern highway, buildings, ports, airports, tunnels, skyscrapers…there’s no economy, no infrastructure building. The global shortage is so severe that several nations already banned its export.
New Jersey is rich with fine sand beaches but, like California, those beaches are constantly eroding into the sea and there is an endless and expensive battle to replenish the sand by pumping it back from the seafloor onto the beach. That’s why the U.S Concrete sand mine in Salem County’s Quinton Township with its 25.2 million cubic yards of sand is so important. With 380 aggregate mines and 300 concrete and asphalt mixing facilities throughout the country, U.S. Concrete and its parent, Vulcan Materials, is a fully integrated concrete/asphalt – from mine to pour – company.
In 2017, U.S. Concrete acquired the Quinton mine and the lease at the Port of Salem. Once mined, the sand is washed to remove clay and silt, weighed, and then trucked seven miles to the Port of Salem, loaded onto a barge which is towed once a week to its New York plants. Each barge out of the Port of Salem handles roughly 8,000 tons of sand, taking 320 trucks off New Jersey roads each week. It’s more efficient, safer, and environmentally positive transportation of the sand.
South Jersey Port Corporation and its four marine terminals throughout southern New Jersey move more than four million tons of bulk and breakbulk cargo through its facilities annually.
MENENDEZ ANNOUNCES $9M TO EXPAND SALEM PORT SERVICES, HIGHLIGHTS NEW, GREEN JOBS ALONG DELAWARE RIVER
Standing on the docks of the Port of Salem on November 9th, United States Senator Robert Menendez announced that South Jersey Ports will receive a $9 federal grant to upgrade its Salem Marine Terminal to strengthen New Jersey’s leadership in building, supporting, and manufacturing key component for the offshore wind energy industry blossoming off the Atlantic coast.
The Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant, which has been in the works for more than a year, comes as President Biden was preparing to sign the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package that will mean an unprecedented investment of tens of billions of dollars into New Jersey’s ports, roads, airports, and other critical infrastructure over the next decade.
Added to the billions of dollars of public and private investments in South Jersey ports and specialized manufacturing to support offshore wind energy farms, the grant helps to fuel the state’s leadership in the $100 Billion offshore wind energy industry.
“The potential for the Port of Salem to take on millions of dollars in new business is tremendous. But when opportunity comes knocking you have to be ready to open the door,” said Senator Menendez. “That’s why every penny we invest to upgrade the Salem Marine Terminal today is setting the stage for new business in the green energy space.
“We want to thank Senator Menendez and Senator Cory Booker for their continued support for South Jersey Ports. They’ve been working in tandem with Governor Phil Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney, Congressman Donald Norcross, Congressman Jeff Van Drew, and regional leaders to make South Jersey a national leader of this dynamic, new green industry while also improving our overall capacity to service our current and future marine cargo customers,” said Andrew Saporito, Executive Director and CEO of South Jersey Port Corporation.
This is another example of the broad bipartisan support in Trenton and in Washington D.C. for the ongoing development of the marine terminals of South Jersey into the premiere logistical, manufacturing, and support center for a job-rich, carbon-free, Green Economy growing along the East Coast. The grant will be used to rehabilitate a 150-linear-foot bulkhead at the Salem Marine Terminal and extend it to 400 linear feet.
Salem Marine Terminal – with multi-modal rail connections, its barge, and navigation expertise along the Salem River, close links to interstate highways and bridges, and its sibling South Jersey marine terminals – will be ideal for logistical and maintenance support for the huge ocean wind-energy farms.
New Jersey is on track to invest $1 billion to lead the offshore wind energy industry in the United States. The South Jersey Port has already invested $400 million to develop the Port of Paulsboro into a general cargo marine terminal that was built with heavy-load decks to accommodate the massive weight of offshore wind energy components. For the past year, EEW America Offshore Structures, a worldwide leading producer of monopoles, has been building a $300 million state-of-the-art monopole plant at Paulsboro.
Doubling down, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority is building a $250 million “Wind Port” in Lower Alloways Township – 11 miles from the Salem Marine Terminal – to manufacture, assemble, and deploy the huge offshore turbines and blades.
Congressman Donald Norcross and new Camden Mayor Vic Carstarphen honored us with a visit at Balzano Marine Terminal in Camden on June 3.
Throughout his career as a labor leader, state senator, and congressman, whose congressional district spans our terminals in Camden and Paulsboro, Congressman Norcross has been a tireless advocate for our mission to maximize our maritime assets to create and support family-sustaining jobs throughout South Jersey.
“South Jersey Port plays an integral role in connecting our region to the global economy,” said Norcross. “It has brought with it countless jobs in manufacturing, construction, and agriculture, and is now the epicenter of America’s $100 billion offshore wind energy industry. As we work to build back better, it is a top priority to steer federal funding and advance policies that support job creation and infrastructure improvements throughout South Jersey, including our ports.”
Camden Mayor Vic Carstarphen, who grew up in the city he now leads, sees the two SJPC marine terminals in Camden as foundations of its economy and growth.
“The port is a job multiplier, supporting multiple jobs beyond their own payroll: truckers, engineers, restaurants, businesses,” he explained. “Whether you want to be a laborer hauling bags of cocoa beans, or a college graduate with a business or accounting degree who wants a career in logistics and global trade, South Jersey Ports provide that opportunity.”