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Readout of Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank’s Visit to New Jersey

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

On Wednesday, Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank traveled to New Jersey where she met with local business leaders for discussions about ongoing efforts to rebuild the region in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. During these conversations, she conveyed that the Commerce Department, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the administration are focused on providing businesses and communities affected by Hurricane Sandy with all available federal support.

“As President Obama has stressed since before the storm hit, the full force of the federal government is committed to helping local communities recover from Hurricane Sandy,” said Acting Secretary Blank. “I met with a group of local business leaders in New Jersey who are determined to recover and keep commerce moving as they rebuild their communities. As part of this, I heard firsthand about challenges they face and the work underway to get their businesses back up and running. From damaged infrastructure to disrupted supply chains, there’s a long way to go. I was struck by their resilience and assured them that we’re here to help.” 

In Elizabeth, New Jersey, Acting Secretary Blank met with a group of businesses that were impacted by the storm. Dr. Blank then visited the Port of Newark in Port Newark, New Jersey, where she was briefed by officials on the status of port operations and the challenges moving forward. She heard from some of the port’s tenants, trucking companies, and freight mobility experts about the impact that the storm has had on their businesses, customers, and employees. Dr. Blank then took a tour of the port to observe the progress of recovery work that is currently underway. 

The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its Economic Development Administration (EDA) are helping with recovery efforts. Immediately following Hurricane Sandy, NOAA was instrumental in doing the work necessary to clear the port so it could reopen and resume business operations. Approximately 297,000 jobs are dependent on the Port of Newark, which handles approximately 600,000 containers annually. As the recovery progresses, EDA will take a lead role in helping the affected communities map out economic development strategies that can help strengthen their local economies.