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Competition increasing for Wilmington's port business

Almost $200 million in port improvements have helped lure two new shipping companies to Wilmington. Now, South Carolina is following suit, hoping to compete for business at the ports. South Carolina Ports Authority will begin construction on a new $55 million terminal in North Charleston. The authority hopes the improvements will help lure new business to South Carolina ports. But Wilmington officials aren't worried about losing the title of Port City any time soon. Despite its smaller size, Wilmington has already signed contracts with two international shipping companies this year: Maersk Tangier and Independent container line. "I can't deny that we compete for traffic with one another, but what I am really saying is there's going to be ample enough business there that will satisfy this range of ports,” said North Carolina State Ports Authority CEO Tom Eagar. That's one reason Eagar is pushing for the International Terminal in Southport. Plans for the terminal have already faced pressure from local opposition. Eagar said one advantage the Wilmington port has over the port in Charleston is the fact that there is better highway access. That allows the port to keep costs low for those trying to ship goods within a 350 mile radius. Construction on Charleston’s new terminal will begin this summer. The expansion won't be completed until 2014.

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