Port Of Wilmington Forges New Partnership To Increase Efficiency

By Audrey Elsberry, posted Jan 17, 2024
A new transload solution through logistics firm PortCity is planned to improve efficiency at the port's cargo terminal, according to N.C. State Ports officials. (Photo courtesy of N.C. Ports Authority)

Logistics provider PortCity plans to lease warehouse space at the Port of Wilmington to improve efficiency in transporting ocean cargo, according to an announcement Wednesday.

A partnership with PortCity came about as the firm constructs a $25 million facility near the port. The Port of Wilmington has maintained a strong relationship with the logistics provider for many years, according to N.C. State Ports Authority officials. PortCity will use an allotted space at the Port of Wilmington while it completes its new facility. 

Will O'Shaughnessey, PortCity's Vice President of Sales and Marketing, said the facility is still in the permitting phase and the timeline has been pushed back. He expects to lease space at the port for the next 18 to 24 months, he said.

A new transload solution, or method of offloading cargo, through PortCity, will be located next to the port’s container berths, where container ships are moored, and the Port of Wilmington’s three Neo-Panamax cranes used to load and unload cargo from container vessels. 

Savanah-based transportation operations firm PortCity, previously called Port City Logistics, owns over 3 million square feet of warehouse space across the Southeast, according to an N.C. Ports release. 

"This gets us up there ahead of schedule," O'Shaughnessey said. "The advantage of being on the terminal is that you're mere feet away from the container stacks ... The proximity there is very strategic, there are not many warehouses on ports in America."

The Port of Wilmington and the state authority will provide the space for PortCity’s transload operation with the option for more space if needed, according to the release, until PortCity's near-port facility on Raleigh Street is complete. The company's $25 million facility will add 150,000 square feet of cross-dock warehouse space to the Wilmington market and create 75 new jobs, according to N.C. State Ports officials.

The off-port dray will be eliminated and replaced with PortCity’s new offering, according to Eric Howell, PortCity CEO. Drayage refers to moving a shipping container over a short distance to unload its contents. The replacement will reduce transportation expenses for customers, Howell said in a release.

"So we are promoting this to high-volume shippers that move a lot of containers and they need their product quickly," O'Shaughnessey said. "Ideally, we would love the palette-in palette-out type of cargo that is easy to handle and we can move quickly."

PortCity is actively seeking new customers. The company would not draw new ships coming into the port but could draw more cargo from high-volume shippers. PortCity does not have any clients coming through the port right now, O'Shaughnessey said, but the company can start its operation in less than 30 days. 

PortCity has experience transporting steel, pulp, paper, retail, home goods, building materials, heavy equipment and plastics. The operator’s experience across industries and high volume of imports and exports will aid the ports in moving cargo without additional delays, officials said.

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