Print
Maritime

First New-Panamax Ship A Harbinger Of More Business For Port Of Wilmington

By Jenny Callison, posted Apr 23, 2019
The ability of the Port of Wilmington to handle new-Panamax vessels, like the one that arrived Monday, is an indicator of port growth to come, officials say. (Photo courtesy of N.C. State Ports Authority)
While the arrival Monday in the Port of Wilmington of the first-ever 12,000 TEU vessel was a milestone itself, Paul Cozza sees the choice of ZIM to dock its new-Panamax category cargo ship in Wilmington as a spyglass view of things to come.

“When this ship came in yesterday, it was the largest capacity vessel we have had. We are continuing to upgrade [the port] so we can take 14,000 TEU vessels,” Cozza, CEO of the N.C. State Ports Authority, said Tuesday. “As we increase the width of our turning basin, we can take longer ships – we hope, by the end of the year.”

TEUs, or 20-foot equivalent unit, are equal to the average size of a cargo container. With the expanded size and depth of the Panama Canal, a new generation of larger ships, ranging from 12,000 to 14,000 TEUs are transporting more freight and, said Cozza, have greater logistical efficiency.

The new arrival, the Kota Pekarang, is operated by ZIM in partnership with the 2M Alliance which links Asia to Wilmington, N.C. Ports announced in a news release. Asia is the largest source of cargo ships bound for the Port of Wilmington via the Panama Canal, according to Cozza.

The successful handling of the Kota Pekarang, he added, is an advertisement for the Port of Wilmington’s capabilities that he hopes will attract more shipping lines. He also hopes it sends a message to major retailers like WalMart, Lowe’s Home Improvement and Home Depot that their imports can be processed through Wilmington.

“We’re continuing to invest. [Shipping lines] want to know we’re with them now and in the future. That’s why we are investing as a state, and why it makes sense for Mersk and others to put their big ships in at the Port of Wilmington,” he said.

Cozza underscored the critical importance of the $200 million investment from the N.C. General Assembly and the cooperation of state and local officials in advocating for the ports. State funding has enabled the ports’ recent purchase of three neo-Panamax cranes as well as three major construction projects: berth enhancements, container terminal overhaul and the newly approved turn basin widening project.

Speaking of the neo-Panamax cranes, the newest crane is off its ship and on the berth. It is fully erected and will undergo testing for the next 30 days or so before it becomes functional, according to Cozza.

While ports in neighboring states continue to invest at higher rates, Cozza said he believes that the Port of Wilmington offers real benefits that many larger ports do not.

“There is an underserved market, a huge volume of business that has been flowing to other places,” he said, explaining that Wilmington can answer shippers’ needs for efficiency and quick turnaround times.

“What we hear from cargo customers is that we have a high level of service and speed,” he said. “We have the fastest [turnaround time] on the East Coast and the Gulf. Savannah, for instance, is much bigger, but large does not mean they carry the same level of service.

“Fresh produce: They want to be in a port where they can get fast turnaround. We’ve had a 30% year-over-year growth in produce,” Cozza said. “Refrigerated goods, we’ve tripled and are up over 20% so far this year.”

Transportation from the Port of Wilmington to markets will improve soon, Cozza said. He pointed to the planned groundbreaking this month for CSX’s planned intermodal terminal in Rocky Mount. That facility will have a direct economic impact on cargo shipping through the Port of Wilmington, officials have said.

Rail connection between the port and Charlotte is due for an upgrade as well.

“Starting July 1, we’ll have improved rail service to Charlotte, including overnight service,” Cozza said. “We are hearing from textile companies in and around Charlotte that are looking forward to changing from trucks to rail.”
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Fredheadshot 5119113348

How a Custom Garage Can Increase Real Estate Value

Fred Kumpel - Strickland's Home
Dallas headshot 300x300

A Planning Process for Future Success

Dallas Romanowski - Cornerstone Business Advisors
Mc2 56882

2019 Homebuilding Market Demand & Pricing

Scott Byers - Majestic Kitchen & Bath Creations

Trending News

Renting Continues To Get More Expensive In Wilmington, Data Shows

Cece Nunn - Jun 24, 2019

Medical Building In Wilmington Sells For More Than $5M

Cece Nunn - Jun 25, 2019

At Mayfaire, New Physical Therapy Facility Throws Out Insurance Model

Cece Nunn - Jun 24, 2019

Adam Sisk Promoted To Principal Engineer

Christina Haley O'Neal - Jun 25, 2019

With ILM Business Park Fully Leased, Land Still Open For Development

Christina Haley O'Neal - Jun 25, 2019

In The Current Issue

Software Firm Codes For Growth

After growing PS Solutions in Pennsylvania, founder Wayne Hippo came to Wilmington with the goal of replicating the company’s growth in the...


Chen Puts Final Touches On Ramen Shop

Johnny Chen, the food entrepreneur who brought sushi to downtown Wilmington more than 15 years ago with his first Nikki’s restaurant, has ag...


Hampton Inn & Suites Opens In Southport

The city of Southport has a new hotel. Hampton Inn & Suites Southport, 4820 Port Loop Road, opened earlier this spring and features 88 guest...

Book On Business

The 2019 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

Power Breakfast - The H Word (June 13, 2019)
2019 WilmingtonBiz Expo Keynote Lunch - CEO, nCino, Pierre Naude`
Health Care Heroes 2018