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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.”


South Jersey Port Corporation (SJPC) was awarded a $1,108,254 grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Rail Freight Assistance Program to advance its Rail Integration Program. The program increases the efficiencies of port operations and provides greater options for customers and transporting cargo. Rail shipping is a cost-effective option that can save time and money, and reduce emissions with estimates showing that on average moving freight by rail can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75%.

The grant will enable SJPC to purchase an electric rail car mover and two mobile loading docks. “This is another step in the program to ensure that our ports have competitive rail options so that our customers can take advantage of the three Class 1A railways that service our terminals,” said Brendan Dugan, Assistant Executive Director and Chief Commercial Officer for SJPC. “We are also investing $6 million to upgrade the rails at our Joseph A. Balzano Marine Terminal which will triple the amount of cargo we can handle by increasing the efficiency of load times.”

The improvements provide an opportunity to expand the local economy as crucial products like steel, cocoa beans, wood, and project cargo will get to businesses and consumers in the region more easily while also providing job opportunities for area residents.

SJPC’s Paulsboro Marine Terminal, which is the first new port built on the Delaware River in 50 years, opened in 2017 with 21,000 linear feet of on premise rail tracks. The rail tracks serve as a key transport option for the millions of tons of steel slabs that are imported to support the region’s steel manufacturing plants.

SJPC also offers on-demand commercial rail service to the Port of Salem with connections to both Class 1 Railroads – Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation. Over the past decade, $40 million has been invested to upgrade the Salem Rail Line. Rail service for industries in South Jersey and beyond offers better freight costs which strengthen companies’ bottom lines and support growing jobs in the region. Having reliable rail service also gives companies another reason to look at the region as a potential location.

The continuing upgrade of regional rail lines is key to New Jersey’s plan to spur economic development in the southern part of the state. It also strengthens the region’s position in building and support of offshore wind projects along the East Coast. A $300 million wind port will be located just seven miles south of SJPC’s Port of Salem, providing the opportunity for an integrated rail to barge service for the supply of offshore wind components.


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.

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

“For more than four decades the dockside workers 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. 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 just about any type of cargo—from steel 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 energy and to increase sustainability in our operations. 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.


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.

Update re: Phone System Outage – Service Restored Copy

***UPDATE 6/9/2020 All phone system service is restored, thank you for your patience***

The phone system outage is related to damaged fiber lines from the June 3rd storm.  Utility crews must finish clearing downed power lines before fiber restoration crews are permitted to access the site.  Please contact us via email or mobile phone in the interim. Click here for the staff directory. Thank you for your continued patience.