Wilmington, N.C. – As part of its ongoing infrastructure investment plan, North Carolina Ports has ordered two New Panamax ship-to-shore cranes with an option to purchase two more from designer Shanghai Zhenjua Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. (ZPMC). Counting the new cranes and options, the Port of Wilmington will potentially feature a total of 10 container cranes that will operate over a 2,650 ft. New Panamax container berth complex.
“This investment ensures that our best-in-class efficiencies will continue well into the future,” said Executive Director, Paul J. Cozza. “Our high vessel and terminal productivity will be enhanced with this addition, thus keeping vessels on schedule and reducing inventory and logistics costs.”
The New Panamax cranes, which are expected to arrive in the spring of 2018, have a total project cost of $27.4 million. Between the turning basin expansion project, various berth improvements, the expansion of the container yard and the addition of new cranes, North Carolina Ports will pump over $120 million into its infrastructure over the next few years.
“North Carolina Ports’ expansion enable shippers to gain unprecedented access to the U.S. East Coast,” said North Carolina Ports Chairman, Tom Adams. “The work underway will allow the Port of Wilmington to accommodate multiple post-Panamax container ships and to increase the speed and efficiency of loading and unloading the vessels.”
North Carolina Ports’ investment in its infrastructure make it the ideal long-term shipping partner as it can accommodate the majority of the larger ships transiting the Panama Canal. Through its expanded locks, the Panama Canal is now accommodating vessels above the capacity of 10,000 TEUs – well over double the size of the canal’s previous maximum. Currently, the Port of Wilmington can handle a 10,000 TEU class vessel with its expanded turning basin, post-Panamax berth and post-Panamax cranes. The additional cranes and berth work demonstrate the Ports’ commitment to expand capacity, providing more opportunities for growth and greater flexibility to meet customer demands.
In addition, the CSX Carolina Connector intermodal terminal is expected to increase port demands in the near future. This critical infrastructure project will create jobs and spur economic development in the region, further positioning Eastern North Carolina as a transportation and logistics hub in the south. An expansion of port capabilities assures the handling of such demands.
North Carolina’s ports in Wilmington and Morehead City, plus inland terminals in Charlotte and in Greensboro, link the state's consumers, businesses and industry to world markets, and serve as magnets to attract new business and industry to the State of North Carolina. Port activities contribute statewide to 76,000 jobs and $700 million each year in state and local tax revenues.