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Port unsure about budget

WILMINGTON -- It's tough to run the port of Wilmington if you don't know what your budget is. And port managers are in the dark at the moment. Lawmakers in the House and Senate have yet to come to an agreement over next year's budget. Several million dollars of which could be allocated to North Carolina's ports. The port of Wilmington is counting on seven and a half million dollars of that money next year. It wants to refurbish one of the berths, which is now more than 40 years old. Port CEO Tom Eagar said today that the berth probably has five years of useful life left before it becomes a safety hazard. Eagar said, "Without that berth we would be restricted in our capability to accommodate customers, vessels, thereby impacting our ability to provide the level of service needed by the business community." The port of Wilmington is currently undergoing a $50 million expansion project. It is looking to collect an addition $7.5 million from the state the year after next to continue with the expansion project. Senator R.C. Soles told me today that the house and senate will come to an agreement over the state budget soon. And felt confident the ports will be adequately funded.

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