Wilmington, N.C. – North Carolina Ports is pleased to announce further expansion of its container services with the addition of StreamLines. StreamLines, a division of Seatrade, is known for its specialized refrigerated container operations, reliable schedules and speed to market. The container carrier recently added the Port of Wilmington to its Blue Stream weekly service and will begin calling the port in June.
“We’ve made a steadfast commitment to better serve the Carolinas,” said Executive Director, Paul J. Cozza. “Agriculture exports are critical to our region’s economy and this service, along with other recent service additions, will continue to allow our farmers to use their natural gateway – North Carolina Ports.”
Since January of 2016, StreamLines’ Blue Stream service has deployed five vessels on a weekly rotation touching 10 ports – including ports in Europe, the Caribbean, Central America and the United States. The service features ships with high reefer container intake and has become an important transportation link for perishable shippers moving seasonal and year-round product from Central America to the United States and Europe and from the southeastern United States to Europe.
“The addition of the Port of Wilmington to the rotation allows StreamLines the opportunity to service North Carolina’s important and ever growing sweet potato export market,” said StreamLines General Manager, Pablo Gonzalez. “Furthermore, we open the Carolinas to one of the fastest and most direct services from Central America.”
The “Georgia Trader” is scheduled to load at the Port of Wilmington on June 5, 2017 and will be the first vessel on this string to call North Carolina Ports. StreamLines will provide regional exporters with one of the industry’s fastest and most direct services to the U.K. and continental Europe. Loading each Monday in Wilmington, the service will provide 9-day transit to Tilbury, 10-day transit to Rotterdam and 11 days to Le Havre.
“As we continue to expand our footprint, we see the trade lane between the southeastern United States and Europe as an emerging market for us,” said Chief Commercial Officer, Greg Fennell. “We’re revamped to accommodate the large, post-Panamax ships but we also see opportunity for niche players like StreamLines to sail in as we gain market share.”
The StreamLines addition is the fourth container service announcement at the Port of Wilmington in the last three months. To prepare for this growth, 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). Between the new cranes, turning basin expansion project, various berth improvements, and the expansion of the container yard, North Carolina Ports will pump over $150 million into its infrastructure over the next few years. These investments, along with the operational efficiencies associated with North Carolina Ports, have led, in part, to recent service additions at the Port of Wilmington.
Similar to other recent service announcements at North Carolina Ports, the StreamLines’ Blue Stream container service could also attract more agricultural exports through the Port of Wilmington Cold Storage (PWCS) facility. The demand for sweet potatoes in Europe is particularly high and it is anticipated that the new Blue Stream container service, dovetailed with the capabilities of the PWCS facility, will give North Carolina farmers the opportunity to significantly grow their export business to Europe through North Carolina Ports. On the import side, new refrigerated services in this corridor will also support cargo movements for North Carolina’s emerging grocery sector. The fruits and vegetables brought in via StreamLines will result in the expansion of cold chain models servicing the southeastern United States directly through Wilmington.
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.