By Jenny Callison
Business was up double-digits at the Port of Wilmington in calendar year 2011, according to the North Carolina State Ports Authority (NCSPA). The Port of Morehead City also reported positive numbers.
The NCSPA said that Wilmington moved about 287, 000 twenty-foot-equivalent unit (TEU) containers in calendar year 2011, an 11.2 percent increase over calendar year 2010. More than 1.7 million tons of bulk and break-bulk cargo moved through the port last year 2011, a 16 percent increase over the previous year.
An increasing portion of that cargo was agricultural products. The authority said that since the end of fiscal year 2010, 414,000 tons of animal feed and grain have been imported and trucked to livestock producers throughout southeastern North Carolina.
“Especially in these tough economic times, the ports are committed to serving the heritage industries of North Carolina,” said Jeff Strader, interim CEO of NCSPA. “As our container, bulk and break-bulk shipments grow, we can be confident that businesses in our state will benefit. We are optimistic that additional partnerships with more businesses throughout the state will continue to develop, and inevitably yield positive results for our state as a whole.”
The authority also indicated its continued commitment to economic development through partnerships beyond North Carolina. In January 2012, it renewed its strategic alliance with the Panama Canal Authority by signing a memorandum of understanding confirming that both entities will “dedicate themselves to generating new business, growing existing business and promoting expanded commerce via ocean shipping,” according to the announcement.