Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the North Carolina State Ports Authority recorded year-over-year increases in traffic at the ports of Wilmington and Morehead City over the course of the last fiscal year, which ended on June 30.

North Carolina Ports’ container volume via the Port of Wilmington increased 4% in FY20. It also set a record for refrigerated containers, moving 12,839 boxes, a 13% increase over the previous year. In total, refrigerated container volume has increased 267% between FY15 and FY20.

Additionally, the Port of Wilmington recorded 36% year-over-year growth for general cargo operations, moving a total of 2.8 million tonnes of bulk and breakbulk cargo in FY20.

The Port of Morehead City also saw year-over-year increases in general cargo. A total of 1.1 million tonnes of bulk and breakbulk cargo moved through Morehead City, an increase of 2% over FY19.

“Despite the coronavirus pandemic, North Carolina Ports was able to report year-over-year growth in both container and general cargo business which is a testament to the ongoing hard work of our employees,” said Paul J Cozza, Executive Director, North Carolina Ports. “We were on pace for a record year in terms of volume before an influx of blank sailings due to COVID-19. Regardless, we are pleased NC Ports was able to push through this uncertainty and record a positive performance in FY20.”

“The fact that North Carolina Ports was able to record year-over-year increases despite COVID-19 is evidence that more customers are looking to NC Ports due to our ability to offer more supply chain and value delivery options,” stated Hans C E Bean, Chief Commercial Officer, North Carolina Ports.

Building on the positive momentum, NC Ports reached several key milestones in its more than $200 million capital improvements plan in FY20.

  • Record financial performance with earnings at an all-time high
  • Completed an air draft improvement project over the Cape Fear River
  • Opened 2,600 contiguous feet of container berth space at the Port of Wilmington
  • Completed Phase II of its turning basin expansion project
  • Welcomed the largest vessel to the Port of Wilmington, the 13,100 TEU MV Hyundai Hope
  • Opened a new refrigerated container yard at the Port of Wilmington
  • Welcomed a new rail-mounted gantry crane at the Port of Morehead City

In addition to improvements at the Ports of Wilmington and Morehead City, North Carolina Ports also completed construction upgrades at Charlotte Inland Port. The improvements doubled the container capacity of the inland facility by enabling the grounding of loaded and empty containers while improving cargo velocity and enhancing trucker experience with improved traffic flow.

These upgrades coupled with NC Ports’ enhanced next-day intermodal rail service, the Queen City Express, enabled the Ports Authority to double rail volume moving between the Port of Wilmington and Charlotte, North Carolina.

“FY20 was an exciting year for North Carolina Ports in terms of infrastructure development. These critical infrastructure improvements enable us to tailor our growth to meet customers’ needs and better facilitate long-term plans and business projections,” expressed Brian E Clark, Deputy Executive Director, North Carolina Ports.

“What’s even more exciting is we have several projects that will come online in our new Fiscal Year all designed to further enhance port capabilities and global connectivity,” Clark informed.

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