Waterfront Commission

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The New York Waterfront Commission (NYWC) investigates, deters, combats, and remedies criminal activity and influence in the Port of New York and ensures fair hiring and employment practices so that the Port and region can grow and prosper.

Organization and Staffing

The NYWC is headed by a Commissioner that is appointed by the Governor, with the main office being located in New York City. The Commission collaborates with local and federal law enforcement agencies to conduct investigations into organized crime in the Port of New York. The Commission can issue and revoke licenses for certain employment positions on the waterfront and maintains registers of eligible applicants and relevant information to inform hiring for waterfront employees within the Port district.

The Waterfront Commission has a workforce of 32 FTEs, the majority of which operate in a law enforcement capacity.

Budget Highlights

The FY 2024 Enacted Budget created the Commission as a result of the dissolution of the bi-state Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor. The FY 2025 Executive Budget proposes $5 million of appropriations, mainly to support the Commission’s operations. This is a net increase from the prior year due to FY 2025 being the first full year of Commission operations.

The FY 2025 Executive Budget includes legislation to amend the Waterfront Commission’s operating statute to reflect its current structure and operations.

Program Highlights


The Commission licenses companies and individuals that handle and/or perform services incidental to the handling of containerized cargo in the Port of New York. It operates the telephonic hiring employment information center and oversees daily hiring of workers to ensure compliance with applicable rules, regulations, and industry seniority provisions. NYWC regulates the deep-sea longshoremen’s register to balance the workforce with the demand for labor and to ensure fair and nondiscriminatory hiring. The Commission also administers the decasualization program and removes dockworkers with excessive absenteeism.

Investigations and Port Security

Sworn law enforcement personnel, attorneys and intelligence analysts perform comprehensive background checks of individuals and companies to ensure they meet the applicable standards and qualifications to work and operate in the Port. The Commission collects, analyzes, and disseminates intelligence related to organized crime and racketeering activity at strategic and tactical levels. It conducts investigations into waterfront practices and works with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners in complex criminal investigations pertaining to criminality and organized crime. The Commission conducts port watchmen training relating to pier and waterfront terminal cargo protection and security procedures.

Administrative Enforcement and Hearings

The Commission investigates possible violations of the Waterfront Commission Act, including prohibited association with organized crime figures and career criminals. It conducts disciplinary hearings before administrative law judges to deny or revoke licensure for statutory violations, and to bar those who pose a danger to the public peace or safety, lack the integrity required for Port employment.


The Commission collects quarterly assessments computed on the gross payroll payments made by Port employers to longshoremen, hiring agents, pier superintendents and port watchmen. It conducts payroll and compliance audits and is responsible for determining deficiencies and imposition of penalties.