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NC Ports presses ahead with upgrade despite COVID-19 uncertainty

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The North Carolina State Ports Authority (NC Ports) will continue with its expansion plans despite the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic after it saw year-on-year (YoY) increases in volume in Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20).

In a statement, NC Ports said container volume through the Port of Wilmington in FY20 increased by 4% from FY19.

Additionally, it 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 percent between FY15 and FY20.

Furthermore, the Port of Wilmington recorded 36% YoY growth for general cargo operations, moving a total of 2.8 million tons of bulk and breakbulk cargo in FY20.

The Port of Morehead City also saw YoY increases in general cargo. A total of 1.1 million tons 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,” added Hans C.E. Bean, Chief Commercial Officer, North Carolina Ports.

The positive performance meant NC Ports can continue with its capital improvements plan, which includes increasing the Port of Wilmington’s annual capacity to more than one million TEU, as well as buidling a new container truck complex.

Furthermore, it will also continue to press forward with long-term navigational improvements to the Wilmington Navigational Harbor.

Shortly before the end of FY20, the Ports Authority received authorization from the United States Army Corp of Engineers for the Wilmington Navigational Harbor Improvement Project (WNHIP).

This project is aimed at deepening and widening the shipping channel. The project now sits with the United States Congress.