In an effort to reinvent the city’s system of moving goods and tackle New York’s over-dependence on trucking, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced Freight NYC, a plan that will create around 5,000 jobs, including many in Sunset Park, as well as improve air quality.
The goal of the approximately $100 million plan, announced on Monday, July 16, is to overhaul the city’s aging freight distribution systems through strategic investments to modernize maritime and rail assets, and create new distribution facilities.
“Freight NYC is an investment in our city’s future,” said de Blasio. “By modernizing our approach to shipping, we will create thousands of good-paying jobs while keeping our streets safer and cleaner.”
A key strategy in the plan is investing in a multimodal infrastructure, with the city working with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to invest in marine terminals and barging operations and support the expansion of rail lines and freight facilities, creating around 900 jobs.
This includes constructing a barge terminal at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park to connect Brooklyn’s consumer base to the new barge network.
Another initiative is the creating new freight distribution hubs, with new distribution, warehousing and transload facilities to meet increasing demand.
To that end, on Friday July 20, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) will release a request for proposal for a private partner to build an Urban Distribution Center at the Brooklyn Army Terminal that is at least 500,000 square feet, estimated to create an additional 500 jobs in Sunset Park.
“This plan is a win-win for our environment and economy, and we will continue to work with our partners in government, sister agencies and industry stakeholders to transform the city’s freight distribution system and create a more sustainable and resilient supply chain,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett.
“Freight NYC is one of the most ambitious re-imaginings of how 8.5 million New Yorkers – and the tens of millions more in our region – share, sell and buy the goods that keep our economy thriving,” added Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen. “It will modernize our shipping sector, strengthen our economy and improve the air we breathe.”
Local elected officials chimed in on the impact this massive plan will have on Sunset Park.
“Today we move forward in restoring South Brooklyn’s historic role as a leader in waterfront manufacturing and industrial services,” said Councilmember Carlos Menchaca. “The plan outlined by EDC today will create a new center in Sunset Park to act as a hub for receiving goods coming into American ports and distributing them throughout the city. Doing so will not only reduce city-wide freight truck traffic dramatically, but allow us to utilize smaller, more efficient trucks that use greener fuels and technology. At the same time, local residents will be given preference for the 500 good-paying jobs at the center. Moving forward, we must ensure the community is engaged at all stages to maximize the benefits to our neighborhood of Sunset Park.”
“This new, forward-thinking plan to modernize our city’s freight infrastructure will create high-quality jobs and bolster local businesses while improving our environment. Put simply, the more freight that can move by water and rail, the fewer vehicle miles traveled by trucks on our roads and bridges,” added Congressmember Nydia Velázquez.
According to the mayor’s office, last year, traffic congestion cost the local economy $862 million, hurting local businesses and impeding commerce.