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November 26 2018

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18 The Journal of Commerce | November 26 2018 Government WITH THE PORT Authority of New York and New Jersey appointing a temporary port director as it conducts the hunt for a permanent incumbent, the outgoing chief says her successor will need to be "nim- ble" to manage the complexities of the position. The port's modest salary — compared with that of other port directors — and nuanced politics may challenge recruitment. Sam Ruda, a deputy director, has been named interim port director of the East Coast's largest port, replacing Molly Campbell, who left the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in late October to take a fellowship at Harvard University. The authority said it could be months away from naming a permanent port director. Without providing further details on what it's looking for in candidates, the port authority has embarked on a nationwide hunt led by Shey-Hard- ing Executive Search, a veteran recruiter for the maritime industry. The opportunity to head the third-largest port in the nation, while clearly a plum position, comes with its own distinct challenges. The ports division, with 193 employees and a $300 million annual budget, is one of five big departments — which includes managing bridges, trains, and tunnels into New York City, and five airports — that invariably com- mand more attention, resources, and agency focus than do the ports. The agency's straddling of two states, with control by appointees of two governors, adds to the political and bureaucratic sensitivities need- ed to get things done. In addition, there is the multiplicity of port and community stakeholders jostling for a say in the port's operation and direction, and the fact that the port leases the six container terminals, rather than managing them. Campbell, reflecting on what her successor will face, said he or she "not only will have to be able to be nimble and work the various issues related to the port itself," but also work with the authority leadership, community interests, and port stakeholders. During her tenure, "there's been a mindset that we want to engage all of our partners," Campbell said. "I feel like that's something that I did bring to the table." Campbell, who joined the au- thority in July 2015 as port director after working as deputy executive director at the Port of Los Angeles, oversaw some of New York-New Jersey's major milestones as the port prepared to accept larger ships, in part as a result of the opening of the expanded Panama Canal in June 2016 and the elevated Bayonne Bridge in June 2017. The bridge project enabled ships of greater than 9,500 TEU for the first time to reach all four main marine terminals at the port, instead of just one. Other recent port proj- ects included the dredging of the channels into the port and a series of terminal improvements designed to improve efficiency and fluidity in handling greater cargo volumes. The incoming director will take the reins of a port prepped to reap the benefits. Key to the future will be the port's ability to attract discretionary cargo, which does not begin or end its trip in the New York area. Most of this cargo is bound for the Midwest by rail and is the subject of tough competition from other ports seeking to attract the same cargo. The new director will also find a port that, even as it handles more containers, has seen its share of the East Coast market decline. The port handled 33.5 percent of the loaded TEU moved on the East Coast in 2010, compared with 29.2 percent of the market in 2017, according to data from PIERS, a sister product of The Journal of Commerce. Whether the port is prepared to pay the kind of competitive salary that would attract experienced can- didates from other large ports or the private sector is unclear. The current salary of the port director, $253,188, is below what other ports pay. The Maryland Port Administration, which includes the Port of Balti- more, pays its executive director $309,000. The executive director at the Northwest Seaport Alliance, which oversees the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, earns about $348,000. The Port of Los Angeles pays its executive director $354,000. Whomever fills the role, Camp- bell is confident that she is "leaving the place better than I found it," and she hopes the "continuous improve- ment continues." JOC email: twitter: @HughRMorley1 New York-New Jersey port seeks flexible and politically savvy person for its top job By Hugh R. Morley Job search begins The port authority's straddling of two states, with control by appointees of two governors, adds to the political and bureaucratic sensitivities needed to get things done. International | Washington | Customs | Security | Regulation

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