N.C. Ports has sailed into new territory in its container business growth in Wilmington, according to an announcement Monday.
During the port’s fiscal year 2018, which ended June 30, N.C. Ports reported a record 38 percent year-over-year growth in the number of containers that moved through the Port of Wilmington, a news release stated. Year-over-year general cargo growth was up 18 percent.
Port officials, however, did not immediately release the actual container numbers.
“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 [N.C. State Ports Authority's] history,” N.C. Ports Executive Director Paul Cozza said in the release.
Cozza credited gate truck turn times and high crane productivity rates for the record.
N.C. Ports reported that the Port of Morehead City experienced growth in its 2018 fiscal year with a 20 percent year-over-year increase in general cargo.
The Port of Wilmington and the Port of Morehead City also achieved record financial results. FY18 was a record year for operating revenue – up 4 percent over a previous high in FY16 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016), officials said in the release.
Operating revenues in fiscal year 2018 were $48.3 million, an increase from the previous high in fiscal year 2016, which was $46.6 million, according to revenue numbers released by port officials Monday.
“N.C. Ports’ record-setting growth is a significant accomplishment for not only the organization but the Carolinas,” Cozza said in the release. “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 tripled its refrigerated container business since fiscal year 2014 and has 17 shipping carriers calling the port compared to six in the 2017 fiscal year.
“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 N.C. Ports’ future in the evolving cold supply chain,” N.C. Ports Chief Commercial Officer Greg Fennell said in the release.
Ports officials expect to maintain record-setting growth, as the ports' ongoing $200 million in infrastructure improvement projects continue. The ports ordered three new neo-Panamax cranes – two of which arrived to the Port of Wilmington in March – as part of the infrastructure project, which also includes ongoing berth renovations and container yard expansion.
N.C. Ports also completed a turning basin expansion as part of the project. In addition, it has purchased a Liebherr LPS 420 rail-mounted gantry crane for the Port of Morehead City – expected to arrive in summer 2019.