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Rooney assuming Port of New York and New Jersey helm

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has announced Sam Ruda will step down as director of the port department and Beth Rooney will take the helm May 2. 

Rooney has served as the port’s deputy director for the past three years. Monday’s announcement hailed Rooney as an “acclaimed maritime industry veteran … who has more than three decades of experience and has been an integral part of the port department since 1993.”

Beth Rooney has been promoted to port director.

The Port of New York and New Jersey is the third-largest seaport in the nation, behind only the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in terms of cargo volume. 

Ruda and Rooney were credited with achieving “record-breaking volumes while navigating significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and global supply chain disruptions, maintaining fluid operations at a time other large ports have seen significant backlogs. Ruda and Rooney have also overseen the development and implementation of the port master plan, a visionary strategy to guide the port’s growth and manage an expected increase in cargo volumes over the next 30 years.”

Ruda joined the port authority in 2015 after nearly 30 years in the transportation industry, including 12 years as a key member of the Port of Portland management team in Oregon. He previously managed the global supply chain for a Fortune 500 company with extensive Asia-based manufacturing operations. Ruda was appointed to lead the Port of New York and New Jersey in April 2019, five months after he was named interim director. Monday’s announcement said Ruda was departing to return to his home on the West Coast. 

Rick Cotton, executive director of the port authority, said: “We’ve been extremely fortunate to have an executive of Sam’s caliber to lead the nation’s premier East Coast seaport during a time of unprecedented growth and operational challenges. And we are even more fortunate to appoint a widely respected and accomplished industry veteran to lead the port into the future. Beth has tackled a wide array of critical initiatives during her remarkable career, and she will provide the port with both continuity and vision — ensuring that the quality of our operations remains second to none in the industry.”

During her tenure, Rooney was the “architect of the Council on Port Performance, a unique forum of supply chain stakeholders credited with unprecedented collaboration that has helped the Port of New York and New Jersey continue to perform well throughout the pandemic,” the announcement said. 

The seaport handled 759,248 twenty-foot equivalent units in February — the most cargo moved in the month of February in the port’s history. The port set an annual record in 2021 by handling nearly 9 million TEUs, a 20.2% increase from pre-pandemic 2019.

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Click here for more American Shipper/FreightWaves stories by Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills.