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Instead of Southport terminal, Wilmington port could expand



RALEIGH, NC (DENR) -– Secretary Dee Freeman of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources today announced that the department will serve as a partner with the federal government in a study of the Wilmington Port. The feasibility study, to be conducted by the US Army Corps of Engineers, will look at how the existing port could be upgraded and made more accessible to increased traffic and larger vessels.

North Carolina’s ports are increasingly important to the state’s economic growth, as the governor continues to recruit new businesses with international import and export needs. An upgraded port in Wilmington could enhance accessibility to businesses across the state, and could result in increased container ship traffic among the newer and larger vessels.

"North Carolina’s deepwater seaports in Morehead City and Wilmington, combined with inland terminals in Charlotte and Greensboro, contribute nearly $299 million annually in state and local tax revenues," said Freeman. "For the ports to stay competitive in this time of dramatic changes within the international container shipping industry, it is critical to look at enlarging the turning basin and modifying the channel alignment for safe navigation at the Port of Wilmington. At the same time, we must ensure through the study that the project would not prove harmful to the environment."

As the state partner, DENR will contribute funding to review improvements to the port. The study would examine the feasibility of modifying:

•the alignment within the Bald Head segment of the entrance channel;
•the turn in the channel by Battery Island; and
•the size of the existing turning and anchorage basin at the port.

The proposed feasibility study is limited to these specific projects within the Port of Wilmington, and follows public support for expanding the Port of Wilmington instead of pursuing a new international terminal.

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