Power Line Project Opens Port To Larger Container Ships

A new air draft over the Cape Fear River will make it easier for container vessels to reach the Port of Wilmington. The new allowable air draft has been increased to 212 feet. The air draft clearance will allow ships with a carrying capacity of 14,000 TEUs (twenty-foot-equivalent unit) and greater to safely and efficiently navigate to Wilmington. A new air draft over the Cape Fear River will make it easier for container vessels to reach the Port of Wilmington. The new allowable air draft has been increased to 212 feet. The air draft clearance will allow ships with a carrying capacity of 14,000 TEUs (twenty-foot-equivalent unit) and greater to safely and efficiently navigate to Wilmington.

Power Line Project Opens Port To Larger Container Ships Featured

By / Local News / Tuesday, 11 February 2020 04:36

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

WILMINGTON NC -  If you've recently noticed larger ships traveling up the Cape Fear River to the Port of Wilmington, it's due to a recent project to increase the height of power lines crossing the river.
According to the North Carolina State Ports Authority, "A new air draft over the Cape Fear River will make it easier for ultra-large container vessels to reach the Port of Wilmington. The new allowable air draft has been increased to 212 feet."
The increased air draft will allow much larger ships carrying a capacity of 14,000 TEUs (twenty-foot-equivalent unit shipping containers) and larger capacities navigate the Cape Fear River to the Wilmington Port.
According to Brian E. Clark - Chief Operating Officer, North Carolina Ports, "This project was critical for North Carolina Ports’ long-term success and further accentuates our big ship readiness capabilities" and, "Not only does it open the Port of Wilmington to some of the largest ships calling on United States East Coast, but it allows NC Ports to better support the needs of its customers."
Duke Energy conducted a four-month project in 2019 costing millions of dollars to upgrade the transmission power lines and towers located in the river. With the increase in height, the lines were also replaced. Those improvements increased the height by 41 feet to 212 feet.
Paul J. Cozza, Executive Director, North Carolina Ports explained, "This was a strategic decision to virtually eliminate air draft issues that other ports in the southeast continue to face due to bridge restrictions."
Cozza added, "Our partner on this project, Duke Energy, recognized the critical need for this upgrade and worked diligently to create a solution."
John Elliott, Duke Energy Director of Government and Community Relations explained, "We are working hard to meet the energy needs of customers now and in the future."
He explained, "Through our strong partnerships on this project, we are helping to keep Wilmington competitive with other East Coast ports and support economic growth across the state."
That project is part of NC Port's $200 million dollar capital improvement project plan. That plan includes infrastructure improvements such as a wider turning basin, berth enhancements and an overhaul of Wilmington’s container terminal.
Renovation of the terminal will double the Port's annual capacity to 1.2 million TEU's and triple the Port's refrigerated container capacity.
North Carolina Ports was recently recognized for its speed and efficiency at an international awards ceremony. The Journal of Commerce (JOC) named the Port of Wilmington the most productive port and Wilmington’s Container Terminal also received a No. 1 spot as the most productive terminal. The awards were presented to the top North American ports and terminals during the Port Performance North America Conference in Newark, N.J. They were awarded to ports of varying size and capacity; Wilmington was awarded in the small ports category. The rankings were determined using JOC’s Port Productivity data by evaluating overall berth productivity in 2018 – which is defined as total container moves per hour while a ship is at berth.
“At a time when North Carolina Ports is expanding rapidly, receiving this recognition could not have come at a more opportune time,” said Brian E. Clark, Chief Operating Officer, North Carolina Ports. “This award supports our value proposition of being the most efficient and cost effective option for our customers.”
N.C. Ports is in the midst of a more than $200 million infrastructure improvements plan aimed at modernizing the Port of Wilmington. Improvements include a wider turning basin, berth enhancements, new neo-Panamax cranes and an overhaul of Wilmington’s container terminal. The terminal renovations will double the Port’s annual throughput capacity to 1.2 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) and triple its refrigerated container capacity to 1,000 plugs.
“At the center of our capital improvements plan is efficiency,” added Paul J. Cozza, Executive Director, North Carolina Ports. “Terminal enhancements will allow N.C. Ports to maintain best-in-class landside and waterside efficiencies and better meet the needs of our expanding customer base as we continue to grow.”
About North Carolina Ports: North Carolina’s ports in Wilmington and Morehead City and Charlotte Inland Port link the state’s consumers, business 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 more than 87,700 jobs and $678 million each year in state and local tax revenues.

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