make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

Ports Authority puts international terminal on hold

READ MORE: Ports Authority puts international terminal on hold

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) -- It looks like the ship may have sailed for the proposed international port in Southport. Today the North Carolina Ports Authority announced the project has been put on hold indefinitely. For many folks who live in Brunswick County, this is very welcome news.

At least half a dozen towns in Brunswick County passed formal resolutions against the proposed international terminal in Southport concerned that the heavy industry would be bad for tourism. This year, the state General Assembly decided not to fund a study on the port. Then earlier this month US Rep. Mike McIntyre (D, 7th District) announced his opposition to port plan. In the end, it was hard to find anyone who supported the port, other than longshoremen and the ports authority itself.

"The environmental concerns were too great," state Rep. Frank Iler (R, Brunswick County) said. "The business model was blown out of proportion, and for the 150 jobs or whatever it might be, I don't think it would be economically or environmentally sound to do."

When news about the port first broke back in 2006 it was touted as one of the greatest things that would ever happen to southeastern North Carolina by creating tens of thousands of jobs. After some initial giddiness, people started analyzing the numbers and realized that seemed like an awful lot of hype.

"The numbers were bogus," said Susan Toth, a member of the group NoPort Southport, which started a grassroots campaign against the port plan in 2008. "The old saying if it sounds too good to be true it generally is I think that applies here."

In a time of tight budgets, the estimated $2-3 billion it would cost to build the port didn't help either, but the Ports Authority still has $30 million tied up in the land it bought for the port, and NoPort Southport opponents say they'll still have to keep a close eye on things.

"Our focus now is changing to suggestions," NoPort Southport's Harry Burrell said. "What can we do with that 600 acres to create jobs, be environmentally sound, and really add to this region and not detract from it?"

No one from the Ports Authority was available for an interview today. In a prepared statement, the authority said that access to a deepwater port is important to keeping North Carolina globally competitive. The Ports Authority says it will continue to examine its options beyond the international port.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Southport will always have battles.....

I just got through spending the day there last Tuesday and played tourist. Fairly busy for a mid-week visit. Southport is an okay place, but doesn't hold a bithday cake candle to Beaufort, NC and never will. Southport is a quaint little town. The only town I'm aware of that uses vinyl siding on "historically preserved homes" in a historical district. The shops are cutesie with most of the same things one will find in any flea market only at 4 times the price. You can go through all of them (that are still open) in less that 2 hours. The seaside restaurants sport local seafood on paper plates at a very premium price as well. Some of those are closed now also.

Well, Southport, you did one hell of a job pushing the port out of your backyard. From the looks of things, you would have done very well with a boosted economy to help keep those shops open and you really wouldn't have lost that, "quaint lil' fishin' village" image you THOUGHT you had. It's only a small mentality village at the very best.

Now, you can go back to arguing with each other over who can have a sign in front of their store or who can have a sidewalk bench to sit on.

We all have our priorities. Now, we know where yours are. See ya in another 15 years...

It's called being a tourist. You visit. Then, you leave.

If you didn't eat well enough for the price in Southport last Tuesday, you didn't ask around or were too rude to get a good recommendation from someone who knew. Locals here and much farther inland are oh-so-fed-up with the undeserved rudeness some "tourists" have that occasionally mutates into a job transfer, real estate investment and, unfortunately, permanent stay involving lots of whining and moaning to the locals for years about the inferior surroundings. What a sacrifice you must endure. Waaaaaaah. Most of us who have lived here more than 10 years (try 60) know that you visit and enjoy Southport, treat it gently, especially downtown, but it isn't a metropolis or a sprawling historical district to sink your hooks into and renovate. Most locals patiently endure the people who come and go, who "invest" (never "BUY") so they can bully the locals out of town before they actually settle down and own the place. I've been hearing the "quaint little town" spiel all my life. I've navigated herds of dazed tourists in the grocery stores every summer (now it's year-round) who leave their manners and class at home and can't return a smile or you're welcome as they ram people's carts, steal spaces and mow you down without a care. However did we all survive when Southport didn't have a McDonald's, Wal Mart. Southport's inaccessibility, quirkiness and inconvenience have protected it quite well from people who are too ignorant to understand the reasons and advantages to such things. Go back, recheck your map and make it 45 years please.

Sorry to tussle you feathers grandma......

....but I've lived in this area a long time. I simply pointed what you have and what you don't have in Southport and never will. I brought relatives from further south over for the day by ferry. We had no problems with the shopkeepers, the disappointment came from the overall ambience not living up to what is portrayed. You folk are a legend in your own minds, so keep that belief, it's all you really have.

The simple matter is, Southport will stay as you like it, a non-descript little town with vinyl clad "historic houses" with termites munching away underneath and a few struggling gift shops. Your self-absorbed need to live the remainder of your life in a slow, going nowhere village has run off all of your younger beneficiaries that had a chance to continue progress. You barely even have any real fishermen left and your shops are closing regularly.

Sorry, I only pointed out a few facts. In particular, that you shot yourselves in the foot by shooing away prosperity for those that may be able to hold and continue legacy there. Technology is fast approaching and perhaps soon they will find away to preserve your little spot with a polycarbonate dome.

You've got what you've got. Nothing more, nothing less, but the "less" is on it's way. You've simply done it to yourselves.

Now...who are YOU to call someone, "ignorant"?

I think those of us in

I think those of us in Southport know exactly what the town has to offer. That is why we live here.

It's somebody like yourself, who doesn't live here, that has some overinflated expectations. If it's not for you then please stay away.
But please don't proceed to tell us that we're missing out on an opportunity for an Interntional Port. The City of Southport was not the only local municipality opposed to the ports project.

yokelle...well said. I

yokelle...well said. I share your feelings. While I do not live in Southport, I live close by, and have for over 33 years. I guess that is long enough to call it home. Yes, I own property and live in/on it. I avoid Oak Island like the plague from Memorial day until Labor Day, and daily when the large employers in the area are changing shifts. Trying to get turned on LBR is not worth the hassle. We generally go to Shallotte or Leland for most of our needs during the tourist (terrorist) season. Hopefully, some day, the roads will improve, though. I understand there is a place called Myrtle Beach just over the state line to the South. Maybe some of the tourists would find it more to their liking to visit there instead of Southport. I surely won't stop them.

As far as I am

As far as I am concerened,you can stay in Beauford with an attitude like that. We are a small town, and hope to keep it that way. We don't need a huge port here to make a go of things. And as far as the benches to set on or a sign in front of our stores that is a stupid rule that the city passed back in 2003 and now trying to enforce it. I have to laugh at the picture on the front of The State port Pilot show the Southport Code Enforcement officer measuring the space between the curb and objects on the sidewalk. Has anyone ever thought about the trees that were planted or the picket fence around the trash cans placed my the city on these sidewalks? If you ask me,those are the the objects in the way. I have had to walk around them to get from my car to the store that I have parked in front of.

Support the port

This is the perfect time to start building the port.People are out of work due to a slow economy and need jobs.No new roads would have to be built if the containers were shipped by railroad only,Thus cutting the cost to build.Most of the rail infrastructure is already in place.Build a depot near Lumberton close to interstate 95 to off load the containers that are be shipped by truck.This would cut fuel costs and our existing roads would not be impacted as badly.Possibly in the future this rail could also be used for passenger trains to Wilmington.The port in Wilmington could be used for a year round cruse ship port.This would open up even more job opportunities associated to cruse lines.This tri county area is a wonderful tourist destination.The economic impact from the tourism dollars would be considerable.This would only strengthen the economy in this area.


What a wonderful day for the future of the Southport Area. Our future will not be ruined by a mega-port being built in one of the most beautiful places in North Carolina.


I think this is a great idea. The port has already wasted enough money on this. They can't even properly manage the existing port much less take on an international port. They can't even give their existing employees pay raises because they have wasted so much money on this project and many others. We were promised pay increases in April only to receive a letter last month stating that we would NOT be receving those increases. I have not received a pay increase in 3 years due to reckless spending.


"Ports Authority CEO Tom Eagar says the new port at SOUTHPORT would generate an annual $1.2 BILLION for the state and supply 10,000 direct JOBS" WHAT