N.C. Ports show fastest-growing volumes in U.S.
September 13, 2010By Business Journal staff
The North Carolina Ports nearly doubled container exports volume in the fiscal year that ended May 31 and imports were up 26 percent. This made the NC Ports Authority by far the fastest-growing container port in the country as catalogued in the Journal of Commerce’s Sept 6 issue.
“The container volume growth experienced at the Port of Wilmington is a direct result of North Carolina businesses taking advantage of lower logistics costs and benefitting from the two new services added in 2009,” said NC State Ports Authority CEO Tom Eagar in an emailed release.
The Port of Wilmington’s two new services are Maersk Line and Independent Container Lines (ICL), which switched trans-Atlantic calls to here from Richmond, Va., according to the Journal. Both of those new services began in March of 2009.
The Journal of Commerce, a global trade and logistics publication, ranked the North Carolina Ports the No. 25 overall North American port based on 2009 calendar year data.
The fiscal year data has the NC Ports at No. 18 for exports with 0.8 percent market share and 91,223 TEUs or twenty-foot equivalent units – nipping at the heels of Palm Beach at No. 17 with 99,280. The NC Ports was ranked No. 16 in imports with 0.7 percent market share and bringing in 106,378 TEUs behind Jacksonville, Fla., at No. 15.
ICL has experienced strong growth in the first year of weekly service between the Port of Wilmington and north Europe and the United Kingdom, according to a press release. Recently, the company added a connecting service from Liverpool to the Spanish port of Bilbao and the Portuguese ports of Lexes and Lisbon. Container volumes during ICL’s first year at Wilmington have grown two and a half times since the ship, Independent Pursuit, made its inaugural call. Key North Carolina business sectors using ICL are the automotive and construction equipment industry, as well as the high tech textiles, steel, chemical and forest products trades.
The Danish container shipping company, Maersk Line, connects Wilmington with its weekly service to Puerto Cortes, Honduras and Santo Tomas, Guatemala in northern Central America, according to the release.
Maersk Line, has seen volumes increase nearly fifty percent on average since it began weekly vessel calls to the Port of Wilmington with its South America Express (SAE) in March 2009. The service connects Wilmington and Puerto Cortes, Honduras and Santo Tomas, Guatemala in northern Central America with road service to El Salvador and Nicaragua, according to the release.
Maersk Line marked the one-year anniversary of its service into Wilmington by adding a second call to extend coverage for a south-bound call. The increase in port coverage benefits North Carolina’s import and export customers by offering them competitive transit times and inland transportation savings over traditional south Florida gateways, according to the release. Cost savings on inland transportation to Wilmington are realized both in the delivery of raw materials to the port for export to the north Central American zone, as well as in the return of finished goods to distribution centers in North Carolina.