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Nation's third-busiest cargo port evacuated, closed as storm hits

October 29, 2012|By Ronald D. White
  • Waves crash over the bow of a tug boat as it passes near the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor on Monday. The nation's third-busiest seaport, New York-New Jersey, was evacuated and closed because of Hurricane Sandy.
Waves crash over the bow of a tug boat as it passes near the Statue of Liberty… (Craig Ruttle / Associated…)

The nation's third-busiest cargo container seaport has been evacuated and closed because of Hurricane Sandy, port officials said.

The Port Authority of New York-New Jersey made the announcement in a statement, adding that the evacuation had been completed by noon Eastern time Monday.

"As part of the evacuation, Port Authority police and civilian officials confirmed that no tenants remained on port properties," the statement said. "Port Authority police will remain on the property."

The New York-New Jersey seaport is a vital economic engine that handled more than 5.5 million cargo containers in 2011. It ranked as the third-busiest container port in the U.S., behind Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The port and its related cargo-movement infrastructure support more than 550,000 regional jobs.

Also closed on Monday was the port of Wilmington, Del., which stopped operations at 10 a.m. Eastern time.

Major businesses were also being affected. DuPont Co. closed its headquarters in Wilmington, Del., and some of its laboratories and factories.

Dow Chemical Co. shut down its facilities in the Delaware Valley.

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