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New Jersey Leaders Say Many Americans Have Port Of Newark To Thank For On-Time Holiday Deliveries This Year

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Gov. Phil Murphy was at the Port of Newark on Friday, highlighting New Jersey's supply chain infrastructure that he says has helped the state avoid the breakdowns much of the country has faced.

Thirteen huge cranes load and unload freight containers from cargo ships as they arrive to the Port of Newark, a critical operation that never stopped during the pandemic, but has taken on more to help supply chain breakdowns.

"It is now nearly 25% faster for ships from China to call upon this port than the ports on the west coast," Murphy said. "A ship leaving China today can save itself nearly two weeks total time by logging thousands of additional miles and coming here, rather than making a beeline across the Pacific."

On the west coast, a backlog of cargo ships waiting to dock and unload is causing major delays for goods.

As CBS2's Meg Baker reports, leaders on Friday highlighted infrastructure investments that allow 10 container ships to call at the port at the same time.

Since 2011, Port Newark executed infrastructure investments of $425 million, including dredging waterways and raising bridges. More upgrades are planned.

"We will be undertaking a widening of the turnpike around our ports to keep traffic moving, and not just the trucks leaving port, but also the cars carrying port workers to their jobs along with the millions of other travelers," Murphy said.

The longshoremen and other workers on the front lines were thanked for their rigorous work to keep things moving especially during a pandemic.

"When you look around at all of these containers, 40% of the U.S. population is going to have their presents next weekend because of the port of New York and New Jersey," said Bethann Rooney, deputy director of the port department for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Not only do presents come through there, but much needed medical supplies to continue to fight COVID.

The governor says federal money has helped upgrade and maintain infrastructure in the state that is needed to stay competitive.

CBS2's Meg Baker contributed to this report.

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