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ship300.jpg Submitted by WWAY on Thu, 03/26/2009 - 5:31pm.

Three weeks ago, the Port of Wilmington welcomed Maersk Tangier, the world’s largest container shipping company. For the second time in less than a month, trucks lined up at the port to welcome a new company to Wilmington. Independent Container Line has served North Atlantic trade for the last 24 years. Now, each week one of its ships will call the Port City home. “It's our capability to provide the level of service in a cost effective manner and that's what we do,” said Tom Eagar of the NC Ports Authority. ICL's partnership with Wilmington means about $1 million in additional wages for port employees. The partnership could also have a larger ripple effect. “The more assets we have coming to North Carolina will help us increase that international trade figure and that in turn is important to companies in North Carolina, which is important to jobs.” Luring new businesses to the Port of Wilmington hasn't come cheap. The Ports Authority said they plan to spend more than $190 million over the next few years in port improvements. But additions like these new cranes were instrumental in luring ICL to the area. “Without these investments, I really think that we wouldn't be here,” said ICL CEO John Kirkland. Kathy Neal said from 2007 to 2008, international trade brought almost $250 billion to the Tar Heel state. With ICL, that money will come in the form cargo varying from automotive parts to household goods. ICL will have four ships serving the Port City, a different one arriving each week. The company handles five percent of the north Atlantic trade and reaches more than 250 million Europeans.

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