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Way Lies Open to Make New York World's Greatest Port
But Efficiency of Handling Is Necessary if Biggest Results | Are To Be Achieved By Fred B. Pitney THE question of the develop? ment of the Port of New York is of supreme impor? tance to the people of New YoVfc. More than that.it is of supreme importance to the nation. It involves * the transfer of the ?enter of the shipping industry of the earth from England to America and with the shipping industry the transfer of financial supremacy from London to New York. Before the time of Cromwell the Dutch were the great carriers of the world's commerce, and Amster? dam was the shipping and banking center of the known world. Colbert, the great finance minister of Louis XIV, estimated that 16,000 out of e total of 20,000 commercial bottoms in his time were under the Dutch flag. Cromwell by his shipping laws transferred the mastery of the seas from Holland to England, where il has remained ever since, and wher England became the world's ship ping center London became th< world's commercial, banking and in surance center. London is to-day, as she has beer for 200 years, the world's chie: consignment market. Raw mate rials from every country in th< world are shipped to London to b? held in warehouses until the con sumers of the world are ready t buy them. The shippers are cr?dite? with from 70 per cent to 80 pe: cent of the market value of th goods and the banks advance th money against the warehouse re coipts and bills of lading. The r? maining 20 per cent or 25 per cent less intcieat. commissions and wart house charges, is realized as th goods aro gradually sold and r? shipped to the buyers. New York's Chance This consignment business is wha makes the greatness of the Port o London and the commercial great ness of the' City of London. It i possible because of the shipping it cilities joined to the banking facil ties. New York should become ai other such port, provided the sarr shipping and banking facilities ai established here. The war has give a great impetus to ihn practice ( ?hipping goods to New York an then ro^hipping from New York t th?? final destina Hon. It remair for Now York to take advantag of these conditions and for Americ to wrest the supremacy of the ser fjom Britain. In oidcr to accomplish this thei mus? be a great unified policy i port development adopted, and th? is the object the New York-No Jersey Port and Harbor Coinmissi? if? intended to achieve. But it a groat mistake to confuso ir porlance with size in the quest? of port development, fascinating ; the "biggest-in-the-world" idea m? be. In hia book, "Ports and Te minai Facilities," Professor Roy MncElwee has a map showing on half of the Port of New York c cupying one-half the page, whi drawn to the same scale tho por of Hamburg, Rotterdam, Liverpo< London, Amsterdam, Bremen ai Antwerp occupy the other half. Professor MacElweo sayB: "Instead of being a cause pride, this is a sad commentary ? the efficiency of New York as a poi When we consider that each of t other little dug-out-of-the-mud pot has handled almost as much coi merco as all of New York witho breaking down, we realize that the must be something wrong with t Port of New York. Several Eui pean ports, notably Marseilles, av? ago yearly more than 1,500 tons cargo transferred over every line foot of equipped quay against 1 tons at New York. It is not si that makes a port, but efficiency.' Hauling and Handling Efficiency 1? what the Port of N York is badly in need of at t present time. Size can come w: time, and the time needed can taken for the development of i great policy, provided the pori as exists is made to function 100 i cent. Moreover, the bringing of o'er out of the existing chaos woi ? not interfere with any future pli for general development, but woi simplif3T the execution of such pla And the efficient operation of 1 Port of New York is of vital 1 portance to every one of the 7,0C 000 residents of the roetropolit district. From the purely local viewpo each consumer is concerned w this question, ?t has been estim?t that the average cost of hauling ton of freight 240 miles ill t United States is 74 cents, whil? t cost of handling the same tos freight at the terminals is 75 ojpr But this is an avarage cost for t whole country. A' concrete exatlr of the enormity of terminal costil , New York is given by Harwood ? j Frost in his pamphlet "American Terminal Conditions." Mr. Frost cites the terminal ccsts in Ntew York of $2.25 a ton on package freight from Philadelphia, while the ninety * mile rail haul from Philadelphia costs only 27 cents a ton. New York is a great terminal. Nothing originates here. Every? thing that is consumed here pays freight and terminal charges, and it lias been further estimated that by the time an article reaches the i consumer, by way of the middleman and retailer, the terminal charge has been trebled. Thus, every resident of New York is directly interested in the reduction of terminal charges by the efficient operation of the port. It is a question that directly affects the cost of living. The inefficiency of the Port of New York, from the special point of view of terminal charges?and from most railroad freight charges were $.3.50, but the drayajje in New York, due chiefly to delay in getting on the pier, was $14. Costs $50,000,000 Yearly It is estimated that more than 40,000 vehicles are constantly en? gaged in trucking'to piers and ter? minals on the lower West Side of Manhattan. The trucking costs for Manhattan are estimated at ? min? imum of $50,000,000 a year, all of which is ultimately distributed among the consumers, while an effi? cient organization of the Port of New York would reduce these truck? ing /costs by two-thirds, or more than $88,250,000 a year, a direct saving of that sum each year on the cost of living for the population of New York. The cause of this congestion that adds so frightfully to the burden of living in New York is lack of con? centration and duplication of serv? ice, and the chief factor in the dupli? cation is the railroad situation at the Port of New York, and the rail? road situation is the perpetuation of abuses founded in the historical growth of the port and its railroad antenna.. Thirteen railroads feed the Port New Yor to a steamer. This waste motion is not all. The many lighters clutter the slip, interfere with each other, and the entire time and effort of removing one lighter and setting another must be repeated for every few tons of cargo loaded. "The principle involved is that of useless duplication of service with increasing cost a ton, increasing con? gestion and the uneconomical em? ployment of a fleet of lighters many times that which is otherwise neces? sary." The same description will apply to the trucking situation. A truck serving several different customers must go to half a dosen different railroad piers, with long waits at each, collecting one or two parcels at each, with the result that at the end of the day it has accomplished perhaps one-fourth of its allotted task and is considerably less than 50 per cent loaded, while each cus? tomer has experienced long and un? necessary delays in the receipt of goods, which may mean a loss of anything from a few hundreds to many th(gisands of dollars. If the truck is delivering to the railroads, knowing the interminable delays, it will carry goods for one line only and will be seen standing for hours k's Extravagu as comes here for the most tempo? rary storage in transit, storage for a few days only, and this adds an-, other great element to the water front congestion. Both the piers and the marginal way have to be used for storage purposes. Freight that should be spread and sorted on the piers for easy access is piled high, with utter lack of system, while packages wanted for imme? diate delivery are buried deep un? der tons of freight that is practi? cally held in storage, and the huge mass overflows into the marginal way and blocks the road for the drays. Belt Line Needed Then, there is the lack of belt line facilities for the rapid and efficient movement of freight from point to point. And this suggests at once the first remedy to be applied to the situation at the Port of New York. The objections to a belt line rail? way for Manhattan are many and obvious, and this leaves a lighter belt line to take its place. Professor MacElwee says, "All hope of improvement is inseparable from the question of competitive versus union marine terminals." And further along: "There is no it Waste of Pi Service to the government ships and deliver only full lighters to those ships. A belt lighterage system would mean the same rule applied all over the harbor, but it would mean, as well, an economical and efficient system of delivering local | freight, for a belt lighterage system would handle not only through steamer freight but all freight com? ing into the port. There are several parts to a belt lighterage sy?.tern for relieving the congestion at this port. Beginning on the Jersey side, there would have l.o be first a concentration and classi? fication of freight. The railroads would have to consent, or be forced, to adopt a union terminal system, and this would mean, ultimately if not immediately, a union belt line ! railway on the New Jersey meadows connecting all the railways on that aide. Whenever such a project is put into effect the New York Cen? tral stands ready to bring all its Western freight down the west ihore from Albany to Weehawken, while the New Haven would take the majority of its freight across .he Poughkeepsie bridge and so to Weehawken. On the Jersey side steamer freight would be separated from >rt Room _?__- __._??<??? Enormous Waste of Time and Money Accrues From Delays Due to Poor Dock Facilities i at the zone freight stations an outgoing freight would be lightere to Jersey in 100 per cent lightt loads, there to be distributed to th various railroads through the unio clearing house. Outgoing steame freight would be drayed or lightere to the steamers frorr% the local St* tions in drays or lighters loaded 10 per cent. The projected vehicular tunnel ur der the Hudson will ultimately har die the major part of the freight fo local consumption, and when tha tunnel comes into service the zon freight stations established for th belt lighter service would be use for the tunnel service and thus sav the congestion of the tunnel by 1 pereent loaded trucks. A belt line railway on the Jerse; meadows is a necessary integral par of such a system, but it is not nee essary to' wait for it to install th belt lighterage service, with 100 pe i. other points of view, as well?is due to water front congestion, and the main point of attack of the problem is the North River, as that is the most important section of the water front, and the solution of that prob? lem would carry with it, at least, a partial solution of the problems of most of the other sections. North River water front conges? tion is of both water borne and land traffic?lighters and drays. The spectacle ia presented six days a week of tho North River slips irowded with lighters of from 800 ;o 700 tons capacity but rarely .oaded 100 per cent and frequently carrying only twenty or thirty tons, :rying to push their way in to pier jr vessel to deliver one or two oackages, while other lighters, oaded with equally conspicuous dis '?gard of business principles, are vaiting in the stream for their turn o crowd into the congested pockets, lighters sometimes lose several days Tying to get where they ave wanted, 'n a recent cas? a lighter missed i delivery to a steamer and had to ?old the freight for five day?, with ?esulting demurrage charges of |75 i day. This is only one of hun Ireds of such instances. The waste ?f lighter service, by this inefficiency >f the port, is as though more than ?alf the lighters of the harbor were :on3tantly ?ied up by strikes of their rewa. On shore the same conditions are o be seen with regard to trucks nd drays. Long lines of trucks ??ait for hours to reach the piers. L two-ton truck, carrying, perhaps, ??o packages weighing 400 pounds ach, will wait four hours to- de ver one of the packages at one pier id then have to wait another four )urs to deliver the second package ; another pier two blocks away. On recent freight shipment from the est f<jr an outgoing steamer, the of New York, of which eleven have their land ends in New Jersey. Fifty per cent of the ocean freight arriving at New York passes on into the interior. Seventy-five per cent of the entire carrying business of New York is for domestio com? merce and is chiefly carried by th. railroads. The thirteen railroads en 1 tering New York are all compethif I for this business, and the building I up of the railroad rate structur. with the differentials and the equal izing of rates has left the terminal; as the only point of competition Hence, New York with its thirteei competing railroads has become thir teen separate railroad ports instea? of one unified port. From Pier 1 to Pier 48 Nortl River, 47.9 per cent of the wate front is occupied by the railroad Each railroad maintains its ow. lighterage service and no road wll serve any other line with its Hghter. The principle involved is that th railroad will absorb wharfage, Ugh. erage, switching and other termin. charges in the through freight rat of tonnage carried over its own line but cannot do so on freight tram ported to or from the interior ove the lines of a rival company. How It Works The practical effect is describe by Professor MacEIwee, who say_ "Now, consider a ship lying at hf berth and receiving freight by ligh ers. Her cargo arrives over all tl roads coming to New York. Eac railroad must send freight alongsic by lighter. Usually many of ti railroads have only a carload or tv, for a particular steamer* Only few tons are loaded onto the dee of a lighter capable of carrying se' eral hundred?, tons. The enti. lighter and tug equipment for se eral hundred tons is occupied in d livering as little as two or'three toi -?-g??m^sstpsmmi -. . "-'-?-?-'?-:-fr rruiS map, from MacElivee's "Ports and Terminal 'Fac?i ?*? ties" McGraw-Hill Co., New York, is drawn to scale, and shows that the docke of New itork occupy almost exactly the same amount of space as the comhined docks of Liverpool, London, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Bremen, Rotterdam* and Antwerp. Yet each of these ports handles almost as much J in West Street, carrying no more than 10 per cent of its normal load, while thousands of other trucks in the same case stretch out before and | behind it. ! It is this railroad situation that is i the chief factor In the congestion i at the Port of New York, but it is ' by no means the only factor. In I the same Bpace on the North River I in which the railroads take 47.9 per ! I cent of the water front, the Sound steamers occupy 10 per cent and ! coastwise steamers X5.6 per cent of the front. It is estimated that the Sound steamers make 20,000 extra miles a year by rounding the Bat? tery to the North River, instead of having their pierfl on the East River. Another cause for congestion is narrow piers, unequipped mechani | cally for the rapid and efficient han i dling of freight and lacking room , for handling and sorting freight. This is a condition that makes in? evitably for congestion? Freight) ia necessarily dumped indiscriminately on the piers, and jt may be necessary to move two or three carloads of packages to get one or two parcels for a waiting truck. Of course, the truck waits and waits and waits. Added to the inability of the piers to function in the manner of com? ponent parts of an adult port is the Jack of warehouse facilities. New York can never become a great con? signment port, rivaling London and contesting with it for the com? mercial supremacy of the world, un? til it has the facilities for handling consignment freight cheaply and swiftly. At the present time it has not warehouses even for such freiahl _I_ ) hope of relief from duplication of facilities and equipment and con? gestion on the water front of both sides of the river until some differ? ent arrangement has been made. The present competition at the terminals and the present absorption of all cost above an arbitrary amount for lighterage service must be changed. The solution must be a union lighter? age service and a union switching service under one port authority and connecting all part? of the port on equal terms. At New York, owing to Its peculiar conditions, the belt railroad and the belt lighterage must be one organization. The move? ment of carload and lests than oar load lots at the port would begin at the New Jersey meadows. Foi the service the belt line company would receive a certain rate. Thii ?vould be more than the present thre< :ents (allowed by the Interstate Com tnerce Comraiieion bs the lighter age ?barge at New York on throug] Ereighfc), but the railroads could we] ?fford to pay more to the belt lim jecauee they would save all the! equivalent present terminal expense? ?vhioh are unnecessarily heavy. Th jelt line could perform the s?Jjrric it a lower rate than the presen :osts to the individual railroad ind to the public." The army; transport servios i he New York district during th var indicated what a belt ?ightei ige system would do for the por V ruling was made?-hot to sa? Ighter equipment but to avoid coi restfon and save time?that the rai ?alb tfewftld pool their lighterag ._ . .--.-' freight for local consumptio Steamer freight would be classifh according to the line, pier and vessi ?while local freight would be class fied according to the delivery zoi of the consignee. The next step would be a unifl lighter service for bringing freig across the North River and to i parts of the harbor. All lighters this service would carry freig from all the distribution stations the Jersey side without discrimir tion and would deliver to all desigr tions without discrimination. _ lighter would make a trip with 1? than a full load. Ten Delivery Zones On the New York,side the c would be divided into delivery zoi for freight distribution and coll tion, and in each of these eoi tnere would be a freight station : the distribution and collection freight. There would be specif landing piers for freight for lc consumption, designated accord to the delivery zones they serv The city would be divided into proximately ten delivery ?sones, v the freight stations and land piers distributed along both North and East rivers. It is e mated that such a rearrangemen' .reight delivery and collection wt aot only relieve the congestion 1 is now concentrated in the V Street district, but would sav? :he neighborhood of ?wo-thIrda Jie dray mileage under the pre. ack of system. Steamer freight carried by -ailroads would be lightered iteamers and steamer piers in >er cent lighter loads, regardles he railroad from which the fre iriginated. The foregoing would apply loth incoming and outgoing frei )utgoing freight would be class i. ! cent loaded lighters, and the zone d '? distribution of freight on the New 1, ? York side of the port. The belt i- ; lighterage and freight zone distri e ! bution parts of the scheme could i be put into effect immediately and d ! linked up with the belt railway t when it is built. il j In the same way, modern piers a I with up-to-date installations for t.-i handling freight are a dire need a j here, but it is not required to wait - j for long and tedious building opera - j tions to use to the best advantage j ! what we have under our hands. s ? There always will be a considera \ ble amount of congestion in the small and restricted piers that now obstruct this port, but a large r amount of that congestion can be i relieved by a proper distribution oi the traffic. s Pier construction, as known ir r New York, is the most econ?mica: r water front, but there is no reasox I j for continuing to be hampered bj I j the historical origin of the narrov , j piers. A modern pier requirea t ' ! transit shed where the cargo of i . j ship unloading can be spread ou t : and Assorted according to marks an? . consignees. There must be spac ? | enough.to accommodate the carg , | without piling it more than shoul r ; der high, as piling and tiering to i [ j greater height is very expensive an ; j time consuming. The shed must b ; | large enough in ?re? to hold th cargo of the largest ship using th pier. The shed must accommod?t? at the same time, the outgoing carg of the ship, as when a ship arriv. in port it cannot wait until its di charged cargo is carted away to b< gin loading. The loss on a ship lying idle i port runs into thousands of dolla: a day. Hence, there must be roo in the transit shed for the ou going cargo to be assembled b forehand and sorted according d i th? ports of destination an?i d ; nature of the goods. The sieved,?, r | can work rapidly and load corr^ c only when the cargo can be lo*; n : and stowed in proper seqa,* r Stowing according to the pork d j destination is very important ^ - ? the vessel is to call at several w 0 ; Up-to-date mechanical ?equipm?? '?' one of the most important adjus, . ! to rapid and efficient loading * _ ? unloading of vessels at pi??r?j. r| Double dcclring, cargo to be * 11 loaded onto the lower deck * e | loaded from the upper deck, &( e ' plan most favored for increjjj 1 i the pier accommodation of \\ s ; York. But in connection with ) | creased pier accommodation n | the need for convenient warehot f j facilities. The pier shed is the n 11 ervoir to hold a shipload for o - j sailing, while the warehouse systi > j is the reservoir for months and ? r j sons. One of the causes of | j present collapse of the Port of K ! York is insufficiency of warehoi ; space combined with lack of m 1 in the pier sheds to hold a full no] | Already overcrowded pier shedu | forced into service as warehoty i According to H. R. Gedd?ss, ? ? j known British expert on ports, ? ; Antwerp authorities figure on warehouse capacity one and o! half times the cargo capacity oft port. However, this capacity ? in some cases fall below the ne? of a port, Eliminate the Dray ! In the choice of site for the ws 1 house the aim should be to elimin I the use of the dray for every mo I ment of freight except local de i ery. The warehouse should h ! rail connection with the interior) ? lighter connection with th? renn j der of the harbor waters. wl ! water side location is not pots ! without decreasing the area st able for vessels of deep draft ti j should be access to the water fti j There should be a physical com i tion between the warehouse and j pier. * There are several warehouse i ? terns that can be applied to dif | ent parts of the Pott of New Yi but the most pressing and at | same time the most difficult pi lern is Manhattan Island. An '? plan, perhaps, would be tbe do; decking of the marginal way West Street, giving a physical t nection between the piers am system of storage warehouse? ing West Street on the east ! But this would entail an outlay a minimum of $250,000,000. A costly system and one that wonk .; the same time promise relief fi present conditions would be W ; houses in connection with the i freight stet ions and landing P of *-he belt lighterage system. T would be both conveniently economically placed for railr freight, while steamer cargoes cc . be lightered to them in 100 peri . loads. The great dependence ef ! York on lighter traffic should an additional incentive to ?tnot I opportunity offered for the n ! of pier congestion In the estaW ment of ship berths at dolphins mooring posts for midstream 1< ing. During the war midst* loading was practiced both bed of the lack of pier room and leading high explosives and so nition. Professor MacElwe? ? "A ship at anchor, swinging *t moorings with every change of I and tide, is at a disadvantage? ?? simple anchoring requires too n room. At the Port of New.1 there is plenty of area in th? ?J bay, where the driving of ro? dolphins and dredging to ecco? date the largest ships would be i pie." Must Simplify Coaling Coaling should be simplified expedited for ships in this port vessels will give up the time P* sary to leave their berths, go ' particular point in the harboi take on bunker coal and retur their loading berths. Coaling loading cargo must go on at same time. That means that ? must be coaled from lighters, there is no reason why dict?t? stevedores and rival coal comp? should be allowed to combin? force the Port of New York to i to obsolete hand coaling inste?' adopting modem mechanical pliances by which ships could at night when the loading of c stops. The problems of the Port of j York are many and variouf? those that deserve the first col eration are the ones relating *? congestion of the North River * front. If that problem were ? >ne would be tempted to s?f ;he future of t?e port was a*? while if it is not solved the efl* ;ure of hundreds of millions?01 lirections would be money W* ntn the nrtan.