prescribes cruises, not shipping, for Red Hook piers
Daniel Doctoroff, the deputy mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding,
said this week the city has no plan to maintain shipping operations on
the Red Hook waterfront past 2007.
American Stevedoring Inc. (ASI), the container company that, according
to company figures, provides union jobs for more than 600 New Yorkers,
took a blow last year when the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
failed to renew their lease for operations on Piers 5 through 11, after
the city decided to use piers 11 and 12 in a bid to keep the cruise ship
industry from a further exodus to New Jersey, while ceding piers 5 and
6 to the plan for Brooklyn Bridge Park.
When the lease was renewed in December, it was only through 2007 and only
for piers 7, 8, 9a, 9b and 10.
Facing a diminished port, and with only one sizable loading pier left,
Pier 10, ASI has said it faces extinction if the city hands that pier,
too, over to the cruise ship industry.
Doctoroff said this week during a sit-down interview with The Brooklyn
Papers in Bay Ridge that he expected any remaining industrial and shipping
uses to move, if they survive at all.
“In fact, we are moving a lot of activity south, to Sunset Park,
where we have Hugo Neu coming in there, which is a metals processing [plant],
you have the AXIS group, which is the car auto processing …”
he said, trailing off. “There is, I think, a real, emerging heavy-container
and other shipping industry in Sunset Park.
“That’s not to say we won’t continue to have marine activities
in Red Hook,” Doctoroff said, hedging the inevitable question of
ASI’s operations on piers 7 through 10.
“Obviously, Piers 11 and 12 right now are designated to the cruise
industry, and we expect that to exceed all projections and ultimately,
I think Pier 10 will also be used for cruise ship industry,” Doctoroff
said. “Which is, I think a huge addition to the Brooklyn economy.”
And the remaining piers?
“Piers 7 though 9 …” he trailed off, “Our plans still
are to have some type of marine activity here. I don’t think we know
exactly what it’s going to be.”
Finally, when asked directly about ASI, he said that the city Economic
Development Corporation has no plans to retrofit a new location for the
shipping company, as the company had hoped and several elected officials
“The issue with ASI is that it is a major subsidy that Port Authority
has been paying to ASI, basically to keep shipping stuff back and forth
across the harbor,” Doctoroff said. “Howland Hook [in Staten
Island] is a much better location for that kind of activity.”
Howland Hook, according to the EDC, was the recent benefactor of a $1.6
billion trade deal with a German-based cargo shipping company that had
first considered the Brooklyn port — until the city turned away its
As first reported
by The Brooklyn
Papers, officials with the company, Hamburg Sud, said they inked a deal
to dock in New Jersey when the city refused to sign a letter saying it
was committed to maintaining a working container port in Red Hook for
five more years.
When asked why the city refused such a simple and seemingly cost-effective
guarantee, Doctoroff said, “There is one rule that I think we’ve
discovered in our period in government, and that is that temporary uses
have a tendency to become permanent. And we have very specific plans [for
the Red Hook port], and we want to ensure that we preserve the right degree
of flexibility to really capitalize on opportunities as they develop.”
The EDC declared that the deal was actually planned for Howland Hook,
and that Hamburg Sud would only dock in New Jersey until a multi-million
dollar dredging project to deepen the water surrounding the Staten Island
ports could be completed. The Brooklyn ports are already deep enough to
accommodate large freighters.
Hamburg Sud officials said that prior to settling on New Jersey, Brooklyn
had been on their “short list” for the deal, based on the reputation
of ASI’s operations. Insiders say the deal was as good as done.
“Just, we don’t think it’s an efficient use of resources,”
Doctoroff said of maintaining Brooklyn’s last shipping port.
Following 9-11, Doctoroff came into the national spotlight as the man
with the plan to rebuild the city’s economy under the new administration
of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. As the economy has maintained itself through
tough times, and property values continue to skyrocket, Doctoroff is alternately
lauded for his success in rebuilding the economy, while at other times
criticized, along with Bloomberg, for treating the city as part of a personal
In the same vein, the administration has been charged with caring more
about land deals and promoting tourism than concerning themselves with
preserving industry and working-wage jobs, a charge Doctoroff said “deeply
He cited the creation of the Mayor’s Office for Industrial and Manufacturing
Businesses as evidence of the commitment the administration has towards
creating and preserving industrial jobs.
When asked how the cruise jobs would compare with the existing longshoreman
jobs on the Brooklyn waterfront, Doctoroff said, “The tradeoff in
terms of full-time jobs, equivalence between the rapidly growing cruise
ship industry and ASI is not even close.”
He promised to provide specific numbers of jobs for longshoreman and ancillary
service providers at a later date.
When asked if ASI faced replacement, rather than relocation, he said,
“No, we have not made a final judgment as far as what to do for Pier
7 through 9.”
But asked about Pier 10 becoming a cruise port, he said, “I think
ASI CEO Christopher Ward, who worked for the Port Authority of New York
and New Jersey before he headed the Department of Environmental Protection
under Bloomberg, said the container port would cease to exist if Pier
10, their main pier for docking large shipments, was taken away.
Asked about the loss of ASI and the container port, Doctoroff repeated,
“As I’ve said, I think Pier 10 will be used for cruise.”
Similar to how shipment of products through a container port with close
access to suppliers in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx drives
prices down for the city’s consumers, The Papers asked what cruises
will bring to New Yorkers.
“Because it creates jobs and lots of economic activity,” replied
Asked to specify, he said, “I think that you have people coming and
spending lots of money. You have millions and millions of dollars of goods
being purchased to go on the ships. You have the activity of taking things
on and off the ships. I think those numbers are easily quantifiable.”
©2005 Community News Group