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Seaport Continued Record Growth in 2021

Other Port Authority Facilities Have Yet to Recover

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced facility volumes for the month of December 2021, as well as for the full year 2021.

The seaport continued a 17th straight month of record cargo activity, moving more than 30% more cargo in December than it did in December 2019. Compared to November 2021, cargo activity increased by 1.5% in December 2021.

In December, air passenger volume at Port Authority’s airports was 17% below pre-COVID December 2019 volumes. Nonetheless, that number represented an 8% increase from the month prior in November 2021.

Driven primarily by the effects of the omicron variant throughout the region, December monthly vehicular traffic at the bridges and tunnels fell 4.2% below December 2019 levels and dipped 4.6% from November 2021 levels.

PATH’s total ridership in December was 53% below its pre-pandemic December 2019 total ridership. Total PATH monthly ridership in December also fell 8% compared to November 2021.

The Port Authority also released its annual total volumes by line department for 2021 and has included month-to-month data comparisons below of December 2021 to November 2021 to provide further insight into facility use trends.


The seaport maintained record-setting levels both for the month of December and for the year.

In December 2021, the Port of New York and New Jersey moved 770,753 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units), an extraordinary increase of 30.3% from pre-pandemic December 2019 levels.

Comparing this year’s month-to-month trend, in December 2021, the port moved 1.5% more cargo than in November 2021, when the port handled 759,390 TEUs.

On an annual full year basis, the Port of New York and New Jersey moved a total of 8,985,931 TEUs in 2021, an increase of 20.2% from pre-pandemic 2019 totals. The nearly 9 million TEUs handled in 2021 sets an all-time record annual high total for the port.


In December 2021, the Port Authority’s airports handled a total of 9.8 million passengers, down 17% from pre-COVID December 2019 volumes.

Airport passenger volumes increased 8% from November 2021, when the airports served 8.3 million passengers.

Annual passenger volume in 2021 totaled 76.1 million, down 46% across the Port Authority’s airports compared to 2019. Annual passenger volume at John F. Kennedy International Airport of 31 million was down 51% compared to its 2019 annual total. Compared to their 2019 annual totals respectively, Newark Liberty International Airport’s 29 million passenger total was down 37% and LaGuardia Airport’s 6 million passenger total was down 49%. In 2019, the airports served a record high of 140 million passengers.


In December 2021, PATH reported a total monthly ridership of 3 million, which was down 53% from December 2019 total monthly ridership. PATH’s 3 million total ridership for December also represented a decline of 8% compared to 3.3 million riders in November 2021.

For the full year 2021, PATH reported total annual ridership of 29 million riders, down 64% from 2019. Also, PATH reported average weekday ridership of 90,941 riders in 2021, down 68% from 2019.

Tunnels, Bridges & Terminals (TB&T):

In December 2021, the Port Authority’s four bridges and two tunnels handled a total of 9.9 million vehicles, or 4.2% below the pre-pandemic December 2019 total. Automobile traffic in December 2021 was down approximately 4% from the pre-pandemic level of December 2019, while truck traffic was up nearly 6% compared to December 2019 levels.

In terms of month-to-month volumes, December 2021 volume of 9.9 million vehicles dipped 4.6% compared to November 2021 volume of 10.04 million vehicles, with automobile traffic down 4.8%, and truck traffic down by 1.5%.

With respect to annual volumes, Port Authority bridges and tunnels handled a total of 116.1 million vehicles in 2021, a decrease of 5.1% compared to the 2019 annual total. Automobile traffic was down 4.6%, and truck traffic was up 1.3%.

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