Northern Brooklyn

Sunset Park’s marine terminal and hundreds of maritime jobs returning to Brooklyn

South Brooklyn Marine Terminal to be resurrected

May 8, 2018 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The city announced a large expansion of the port in Sunset Park, which some worry could lead to a shrinking of the existing port in Red Hook, a site coveted by developers. Photo by Associated Press/Gregory Bull
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Sunset Park’s waterfront would be transformed into the one of the city’s biggest ports — creating hundreds of jobs and removing thousands of trucks from local roadways — under a city plan announced Tuesday.

The South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, which stretches from 29th to 39th streets, is slated to grow into a shipping hub over the next five years and augment the ongoing industrial development throughout the neighborhood, city officials said.

The operators of the existing Red Hook Container Terminal would run the new facility, dubbed Sustainable South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, on an initial lease through 2054. The city has already invested $110 million, including $20 million in rail improvement, to prepare the site for its future as a deep-water container port — the only one on all of Long Island.

It’s “a transformative maritime facility that will create new opportunities for industries, local businesses, and New Yorkers,” said Economic Development Corp. President and CEO James Patchett.

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The resurrection of the 1960s-era terminal is expected to fire up South Brooklyn’s growing economy, which includes business at Industry City, the Brooklyn Army Terminal and a factory for a wind power company that the city hopes will be built in Sunset Park. Such a factory, which could add hundreds of jobs, was unlikely without a major investment in the port.

The facility is “a cornerstone of Sunset Park’s maritime and industrial future,” said Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, who blocked an earlier plan in order to win maritime-only restrictions and to block condos or trash transfer facilities at the port. The final deal now also includes a five-percent “rent giveback” to the community for local infrastructure projects, a job training program, and a commitment to the environment.

“Tens of millions of dollars will be invested in Sunset Park and hundreds of high quality jobs will be created,” said Menchaca (D-Sunset Park).

The resurrected marine terminal will also reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, as the new facility will shift cargo from trucks to rail, barge and vessel, the city said.

Ninety-one percent of all freight in the New York area currently moves by truck, according to the Metropolitan Rail Freight Council. The terminal will move more than 900,000 metric tons of material annually through the port and eliminate more than 11,000 truck trips a year using barges and a beefed-up rail network.

Jobs in the fields of marine services, construction, drivers, freight forwarders and local services can be expected within five years, the city says, along with longshoremen, skilled tradesmen and vehicle handlers involved in waste paper recycling and export; the importation of lumber, salt, and other material; barge-operations; and other activities.

It is unclear what will happen to the existing Red Hook container port over the long term, but the city’s plan may complement a state vision. In January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed moving the Red Hook operation, whose lease expires in September, to the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal.

The Red Hook site is coveted by developers for waterfront residential use. Cuomo’s office has called for a new subway line into the under-served area as part of “appropriate redevelopment alternatives for any Port Authority land no longer needed for maritime needs.”

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