PANYNJ, Skyports explore middle-mile drone logistics 

PANYNJ, Skyports to explore middle-mile drone logistics 

Skyports Drone Services (Skyports), a drone logistics company, has partnered with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) to focus on middle-mile drone logistics.

PANYNJ oversees much of the New York and New Jersey’s air, land, rail and maritime transportation infrastructure network.

In addition, the port authority also manages major tunnels and bridge crossings within the Port District, which spans a 25-mile radius around the Statue of Liberty. 

The multi-year collaboration between Skyports and PANYNJ aims to contribute to the authority’s ambition of deploying and growing un-crewed aerial systems (UAS) throughout its diverse portfolio of marine, aviation, and transportation assets.

The collaboration will initially explore how middle-mile all-electric drones can support PANYNJ’s goal of reducing volumes of truck traffic which currently utilise the port’s many bridges and tunnels.

READ: PANYNJ kickstarts $220 million street corridor project

PANYNJ plans to reallocate a significant amount of its cross-Hudson freight shipments to greener means of transportation, such as UAS.

The partnership will begin with a feasibility study which will identify regulatory, technical, operational, and commercial pathways across the Port District for enabling drone services, with an initial focus on middle-mile applications.  

The ‘middle mile’ is the portion of the supply chain that connects the distribution centre (or warehouse) to a retail shop or local fulfilment centre, but not directly to the end customer.

Alex Brown, Director of Skyports Drone Services, said: “Our partnership with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is a pivotal step for maritime and logistics focused drone operations in the US. 

“We look forward to partnering to explore the feasibility of drone operations in the Hudson River airspace, onboarding initial customers, and producing an actionable roadmap for UAS in New York City, with a view towards launching proof-of-concept operations within the Port District.” 

READ: PANYNJ regains over $25 million from toll evaders

Seth Wainer, Innovation Program Director at Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, stated: “It may seem like something from the Jetsons, but if drone cargo proves viable it may be a low-carbon way to move the most valuable items between New York and New Jersey.

“We are exploring routes and starting to look for customers who may be interested in investing in this space alongside us.” 

PANYNJ handled 7.8 million TEU in 2023, a 4.4 per cent rise from pre-pandemic 2019.

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