Port of Wilmington sees banner year for container traffic

Port of Wilmington (Photo: NC Ports)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Big news for the Port of Wilmington! North Carolina Ports says they have seen a banner year in container business growth.

During the port’s fiscal year 2018, which ended June 30, Wilmington moved a record number of containers through the port, according to a news release. Wilmington recorded 38 percent year-over-year container growth and year-over-year general cargo growth was up 18 percent.

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“This is an exciting time for North Carolina Ports. In the last few months of FY18 the Port of Wilmington handled a record number of containers, specifically during the month of March Wilmington recorded its highest month of container volume in the Authority’s history,” said NC Ports Executive Director Paul J. Cozza.

Cozza credited gate truck turn times and high crane productivity rates for the big boost.

North Carolina Ports reported that the Port of Morehead City experienced growth in 2018 fiscal year with a 20 percent year-over-year increase in general cargo.

North Carolina’s ports in Wilmington and Morehead City also achieved record financial results. Officials says FY18 was a record year for operating revenue – up 4 percent over NC Ports’ previous high in FY16.

“NC Ports’ record-setting growth is a significant accomplishment for not only the organization but the Carolinas,” added Cozza. “The Authority is an economic driver and our FY18 results reflect the major economic impact North Carolina’s ports have on the state.”

The Port of Wilmington also tripled its refrigerated container business since fiscal year 2014 and now has 17 shipping carriers calling the Port compared to only six in FY14.

“Wilmington is strategically positioned for growth in both the fresh and frozen refrigerated markets. With on dock cold storage, Phase II Cold Treatment Certification, increased refrigerated container plug capacity, and the support from customers interested in an alternative gateway into the global marketplace; we are excited about NC Ports’ future in the evolving cold supply chai,” NC Ports Chief Commercial Officer Greg Fennell said.

North Carolina Ports says to maintain its record setting growth, they have invested more than $200 million in infrastructure improvement projects including the order of three new neo-Panamax cranes – two of which arrived to the Port of Wilmington in March, berth renovations and container yard and turning basin expansion.

North Carolina Ports says they have also purchased a Liebherr LPS 420 rail-mounted gantry crane for the Port of Morehead City – expected to arrive in summer 2019.