WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Having already doubled its container services thus far in 2017, the Port of Wilmington is expecting unprecedented growth in the next fiscal year.
The inaugural port call of the ZIM Shanghai on Sunday marked the fourth new container service activated at the port in the last two months.
To prepare for expected additional growth, North Carolina Ports has ordered two New Panamax ship-to-shore cranes with an option to purchase two more.
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.
"We've made a steadfast commitment to better serve the Carolinas," Chief Commercial Officer Greg Fennell said. "With four major container service activations in the last two months, we are preparing for record throughput in Wilmington."
ZIM recently added the Port of Wilmington to its Z7S all-water Asia-U.S. East Coast service rotation. This weekly service provides access to major markets in South China, Southeast Asia and India Subcontinent. Known for its speed to market, the Z7S service is the only container service calling the Port of Wilmington using the Suez Canal.
In addition to the new ZIM service, Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) introduced the TA2/NEUATL2 Europe-U.S. East Coast container service in early May. The enhanced TA2/NEUATL2 service provides access between Bremerhaven, Felixstowe, Le Harve and Wilmington.
A new partnership with THE Alliance was the addition of the EC2 all-water Asia-U.S. East Coast container service. This weekly service began calling on the Port of Wilmington in May as well, touting some of the largest vessels that consistently come to and leave from the Carolinas.
Next was StreamLines, a division of Seatrade, which 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 began calling the port earlier this month.
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. Port activities contribute statewide to 76,000 jobs and $700 million each year in state and local tax revenues.
"Businesses desire access to the global markets where their products are sold and their resources are found," Executive Director Paul J. Cozza said. "The Port of Wilmington provides the Carolinas that access, making North Carolina Ports a key factor in the region's economic growth. The access our port provides continues to improve with recent services, like that of ZIM, being activated."