N.C. Port officials have submitted a permit application to the state department of environmental quality for development of nearly 30 acres of port property that officials said will support future growth at the Port of Wilmington.
"There is currently no construction timeline. Permitting the property is the first step," Bethany Welch, spokeswoman for N.C. Ports, said about the project in an email Tuesday.
The project includes the development of land at 1500 and 1588 S. Front St. just north of the Wilmington port, according to the application.
“Our business has grown exponentially over the past few years—in fact, last year was a record-setting year for the authority. Planning for the potential use of this property is just one facet of our infrastructure improvement program, which includes the addition of three new container cranes, berth refurbishment and expanding the turning basin,” N.C. Ports officials said in an email Tuesday.
The Port of Wilmington has been continuing its $200 infrastructure improvement plan and most recently, N.C. Ports submitted an application to the Army Corps of Engineers for phase two of its turning basin expansion
For the newly proposed development, N.C. Ports plans include paved storage areas, one 72,000-square-foot multi-use warehouse, a small guard house and a multi-use pier with land bridges, according to a permit application submitted to the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality on Nov. 5.
A letter issued by N.C. Ports on Sept. 26, which is included in the permit application, indicates that the current port facility has experienced major growth with increased container volumes, general cargo and overall movement through the port.
“As container volume and movement through the Port continues to increase, the open storage areas once used for general cargo has diminished. The proposed new docking pier with land bridges, new cargo shed, and general cargo area on the proposed site will allow cargo to be dedicated to the new site and allow for expanded business opportunities that would help the Port better service the people, industries, and agribusiness of North Carolina,” according to N.C. Ports' letter in the application.
Development of a general cargo area would also give the Port of Wilmington a competitive advantage to handle “new commodities that require open storage,” stated the letter.
In addition, port officials are also proposing a pier design that would cater to roll on/roll off ships and could handle wheeled cargo, including cars and tractors.
The property has entered into NCDEQ’s brownfield program, and an agreement is being developed for the site, stated the letter.
Earlier this spring, N.C. Ports submitted a proposal to review the property at 1500 S. Front St. for the state's brownfields program
. Officials with NCDEQ's division that handles those agreements were not immediately available Tuesday to give comment for an update on the process.