Partnership Board Meets at NC Ports

North Carolina’s ports account for over $14 billion in economic impact for the state, according to a 2014 analysis by North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Port activities supported 76,000 jobs and spurred $700 million each year in state and local tax revenues.

The Southeast enjoyed the greatest impact of any region, the study found. The ports’ economic significance prompted the board of directors of The Southeastern Partnership to hold one of its regular meetings at the offices of the North Carolina State Ports Authority in Wilmington. The two-hour long meeting included a presentation by Ports Authority Executive Director Paul Cozza on the current spate of upgrades at the ports and new multimodal rail service connecting Wilmington to Charlotte.

North Carolina Ports will invest more than $120 million in infrastructure over the coming years, including the addition of two New Panamax ship-to-shore cranes. The new cranes are expected to arrive next spring. “This investment ensures that our best-in-class efficiencies will continue well into the future,” Cozza says. “Our high vessel and terminal productivity will be enhanced with this addition, thus keeping vessels on schedule and reducing inventory and logistics costs.”

In late July, NC Ports joined CSX in launching daily, intermodal rail service between Wilmington and Charlotte via a double-stacked train known as the Queen City Express. “The Queen City Express provides premier rail service over competing ports for existing and future container customers in one of the most significant economic centers in the Southeastern United States,” according to Cozza.

Port access is a key requirement for many of the site-selection projects coming to NC Southeast, according to Partnership President Steve Yost. “The ports are North Carolina’s gateway to the global economy, and the investments being made there show a measurable return when you consider the worldwide connections the ports bring to our region’s business community,” Yost says.