The Port of Albany–Rensselaer, widely known as the Port of Albany, is a port of entry in the United States with facilities on both sides of the Hudson River in Albany and Rensselaer, New York. Private and public port facilities have existed in both cities since the 17th century, with an increase in shipping after the Albany Basin and Erie Canal were built with public funds in 1825. The port's modern name didn't come into widespread use until 1925; the current port was constructed in 1932 under the governorship of Franklin D. Roosevelt and included the largest grain elevator in the World at the time. Today the grain elevator remains the largest in the United States east of the Mississippi River, and the port also hosts the tallest harbor crane in the state of New York. The port has rail connections with the Albany Port Railroad which allows for connections with CSXT and CP Rail, and is near several interstates and the New York State Canal System. The port features several tourist attractions as well, such as the USS Slater (DE-766), the only destroyer escort still afloat in the United States.
The Port of Albany and the private companies located there bring to the Capital District's economy $428 million in direct spending and 1,382 jobs. The port has a U.S. Customs office as it is a port of entry. The Albany Port Customs District includes all of the following counties: Albany, Columbia, Delaware, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, and Washington; along with the parts of Dutchess, Sullivan, and Ulster counties north of 41° 42' N. latitude. The 35 acres (140,000 m2) on the Rensselaer side of the port is site C of Foreign Trade Zone number 121. A significant amount of the port is part of New York's Empire Zone program, which gives port tenants breaks on state income tax along with various benefits and tax breaks from the city of Albany.
The Port of Albany is roughly 260 miles (420 km) east of Buffalo, 225 miles (362 km) south of Montreal, 175 miles (282 km) west of Boston, and 135 miles (217 km) north of the city of New York which makes it a location for regional distribution in the Northeastern United States and parts of Canada. As part of the Inland Distribution Network, the Port of Albany has a twice-weekly barge service to and from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey terminals. Shipments into the port can leave through many modes of transportation, including by truck and rail. Albany International Airport is 15 minutes away with cargo facilities. Canals allow for further water transportation on barges further into the interior of North America. The port also handles commodities that are not carried on ships. Grain, molasses, animal feed, wood pulp, and steel often go from inbound trains to outbound trucks.
The Albany Port Railroad (APRR), owned jointly by CSX and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail), has 18 miles (29 km) of track inside the port. The APRR ties into CP Rail's Colonie Mainline and CSX's Port Subdivision for rail traffic out of the port. Norfolk Southern has an intermodal yard at the port. CP Rail's Kenwood Yard is adjacent to the port. The North Albany–Erie Street Yard, also owned by CP Rail, is a few miles north of the port and still in the city of Albany. CSX owns two nearby yards: the Selkirk Yard is eight miles (13 km) south of the port, and the West Albany Yard is four miles (6 km) north.
Some commodities come through the port on a regular basis, others are special cargo for a limited time. Such limited time cargo includes subway cars shipped to Albany from Brazil in 2006 for six months, and 30-inch (760 mm) diameter pipes with associated materials from Italy first shipped in May 2007. The pipes were for a 186-mile (299 km) long natural gas pipeline and included 60,000 short tons (53,571 long tons; 54,431 t) of material in about a dozen ships. Commodities shipped
Along with commercial activities the Port of Albany has non-industrial uses along the river. A ship museum and a tourism cruise ship are docked at the Steamboat Square. Steamboat Square was, until 2010, named the Snow Dock for being where city trucks dumped into the Hudson River snow plowed from the streets. A PortFest was held in 2007 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Port of Albany-Rennselaer and the 10th anniversary of the USS Slater as a museum docked at Albany. National Maritime Day is celebrated with free trolley rides of the port and free rides aboard the Dutch Apple Cruise.
The USS Slater (DE-766), which is the only destroyer escort still afloat in the United States, sits at Steamboat Square near the foot of Madison Avenue. The ship is open from April to November to the public. The destroyer closes to the public from December to March and moves from the Steamboat Square to the port's Rensselaer side. In August 2008 part of the Japanese film Orion in Midsummer (scheduled for release in spring 2009) was filmed on board.
Dutch Apple Cruises, a private company which gives day cruises on the Hudson River and Erie Canal, also operates at the Steamboat Square. The city of Albany has a public boat launch and boat house along the Hudson in the Corning Preserve. The boat house and launch are used by the Albany Rowing Center, a non-profit rowing organization. On the Rensselaer side of the Hudson is the Albany Yacht Club. The club was founded in the city of Albany in 1873 and is one of the oldest yacht clubs in the nation. In 1954 the club moved to the Rensselaer side and since 1971 has been at its current location just south of the Dunn Memorial Bridge. Facilities are open to the public at large and not just to members.
The Port of Albany includes:
- Deep water facilities located on both banks of the river;
- two wharves: wharf length on the Albany side of the river is 4,200 feet (1,300 m) with four berths, and on the Rensselaer side the length is 1,100 feet (340 m) with one berth;
- 10-acre (4.0 ha) open storage yard;
- Customs and U.S. Department of Agriculture offices;
- Five transit sheds and two backup warehouses totaling 350,000 square feet (33,000 m2) of storage;
- 13,500,000 bu (41,000 m3) bushel capacity grain elevator;
- 18-million-US-gallon (68,000 m3) capacity bulk liquid storage between two terminals;
- Heavy lift on-dock rail capability;
- Super-sacking and debagging operation;
- 12-acre (4.9 ha) road salt depot;
- 12-acre (4.9 ha) scrap yard;
- a 225-short-ton (201-long-ton; 204-metric ton) capacity crane and a mobile harbor crane, which is the largest harbor crane in the state of New York.