Posts Tagged “Port of Wilimington”

Wilmington Port Announces Improvements to Increase Imports

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Improvements are coming to the Port of Wilmington, DE, which is a key facility for U.S. fruit imports.

In an agreement with the Diamond State Port Corp. last September, GT USA Wilmington was granted exclusive rights to operate and develop the Port of Wilmington for 50 years. 

The beginning of that era has already seen improvements to the port and more are coming.

GT USA’s concession includes the full management and development of the port’s existing container volumes of 350,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) per year, which is forecast to more than double in the years to come as a consequence of this deal, according to a news release.

The Port of Wilmington, which began operations in 1923, is the top North American port for imports of fresh fruit into the U.S.

Over the next nine years, Gulftainer plans to invest $580 million in the port, including approximately $410 million for a new 1.2 million TEU container facility at DuPont’s former Edgemoor site, which was acquired by the Diamond State Port Corp. in 2016. 

Earlier this year, GT USA Wilmington took delivery of three 45-ton reach stackers from KoneCranes Inc.

The delivery is part of a larger order, which includes nine 41-ton Rubber Tired Gantry (RTG) cranes, and is part of the $500 million-plus investment into the Port of Wilmington and a new container terminal development at Edgemoor.

Improvements coming

Dave Harriss, vice president of commercial operations GT USA Wilmington, the U.S. arm of ports and logistics company Gulftainer, said there is $170 million earmarked for the Port of Wilmington terminal. 

“We’ve probably spent about $49 million so far on new equipment and a lot of infrastructure changes,” he said.  

The port has reinforced its piers, changed the traffic flows and created a terminal operating system that tracks cargo flows for both containers and breakbulk, he said.

“I suspect we will have close to $140 million spent by the end of 2020 because we’re adding an additional two warehouses and taking our refrigerated square feet up over a million square feet and our dry capacity up to 300,000 square feet,” he said.

The Port of Wilmington is located on just more than 300 acres, he said, and GT USA Wilmington is changing the operating structure and will allow the company to squeeze more capacity out of those 300 acres. 

For example, a master gate system will replace individual fences around tenant facilities, allowing greater consolidation of operating areas. Dole and Chiquita are legacy customers for the port and both have renewed long-term commitments.

GT USA Wilmington is taking the port’s container footprint from 300,000 TEUs up to 600,000 TEUs by going to a stacked configuration instead of a grounded configuration, he said.

In the past year, the port has experienced an increase from 350,000 TEUs to 408,000 TEUs, he said.

Breakbulk is still a vital part of the port’s fruit business, though container volume is bigger business. About two breakbulk ships come to the port each week, Harriss said.

Looking ahead, he said GT USA Wilmington will continue to invest in the legacy port facilities at the Port of Wilmington, with coming changes more pronounced and visual. Improvements accomplished so far include reinforcing the piers, laying in fiber optics and installing new wi-fi systems.

“Now the big visual changes are going to take place after the winter season,” he said. 

“You’re going to see the gantry cranes coming in and the look and feel of the place is going to change,” he said, noting the new gate complex and a new refrigerated warehouse.

Groundbreaking also will occur at the Edgemoor site. That terminal facility will be strictly oriented to handling containers and is expected to handle about 1.2 million TEUs.

“We think it will be open for business in 2023,” he said.

The Port of Wilmington will remain a mixed use facility while Edgemoor will be geared to handle big container ship operators, and will have a 240,000-square-foot-high cube refrigerator space.

Fruit trends

Considering trends in fruit imports, Harriss thinks that the South American trade will continue to edge up its share of containerized business versus breakbulk, but that there will always be a need for breakbulk shipments.

In terms of suppliers, he pointed to rising volumes from Peru.

“I think that Peru is going to come out swinging this year and volumes from Peru are going to be robust,” he said. 


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Nogales Crossing Delays; Bananas are now Arriving at Wilmington

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DSCN9002Delays in Mexican produce crossing the border, which also means in delays for produce haulers picking up product at distribution centers, is occurring at Nogales, AZ…..Also, bananas are now arriving for the first time by boat at Wilmington, NC.

Nogales is a leading port of entry for Mexican fresh vegetables, amounting to $2 billion in 2016, is having delays due in large part from a shortage of officers.

A shortage of as many ad 300 officers is reported a US. Customs and Broker Protection (CBP). The results are long lines delaying produce border crossings.

Citing security reasons the CBP doesn’t reveal exactly how many officers are currently working at the gateway.  However, they acknowledge the port is rotating staff by bring in officers from other ports around the U.S. to Nogales for 90-day work assignments.  As many as 175 officers have relocated to the Nogales for temporary duty, reports the National Treasury Employees Union.

In 2016 alone, $8.3 billion worth of U.S. exports when from Arizona into Mexico.  Also in 2016, $7.4 billion in Mexican goods were imported into Arizona.

Not only is commerce adversely affected by the delays at Nogales, but travelers looking to cross the border are looking at lengthy delays.

Anthony Reardon, president of the Nogales, National Treasury Employees notes CBP’s protracted and complicated hiring process, strict polygraph testing, and extensive training times are all at play when he recently testified before congress.  This has resulted in 3700 vacant positions for the agency, simply due to the 12 to 18 month hiring process.

Banana Imports at Wilmington

Bananas imported from Central America recently began arriving at the Port of Wilmington (NC).    The inital arrival marks the beginning of a 12-month commitment to bring weekly deliveries of bananas for distribution by truck to distribution centers across North Carolina and South Carolina.

Wilmington is the first South Atlantic port to implement both phases of the Department of Agriculture’s Southeast In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot program, which allows for more direct imports of produce.

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1st Chilean Fruit has arrived at a U.S. Port, with More Boats Expected

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DSCN1782The first breakbulk shipment of Chilean winter fruit to arrived by boat in the U.S at the Port of Wilmington (North Carolina)  on December 18th.  As we get further into the winter, more frequent arrivals are occurring.

The ship held over 756,000 boxes of fresh cherries, blueberries, stone fruit, and table grapes.  The  imported fruit is stored in the port’s 800,000 on-dock refrigerated warehouse complex before distribution by truck to Eastern markets.

During the winter fruit season from December through April, the Port of Wilmington expects to receive at least 25 shiploads of fruit from various Chilean ports.  Wilmington was the first U.S. port to receive fruit from Chile this winter.

In the 2012-13 season, the Port of Wilmington received about 18 million boxes of Chilean fruit, up 22 percent from the previous season.

Exactly how much fruit from Chile will arrive a U.S. ports, which besides Wilmington, is primarily Philadelphia, PA and Long Beach, CA, depends on a number of factors.

Naturally, Mother Nature plays a critical role and those climate conditions during the growing season in Chile has meant slower development, harvest and ultimately arrivals to the U.S.  Some freezing weather at critical times also is expected to reduce total volume.  Finally, depending on currency values, Chile will ship to Europe and other global markets if better profits are likely.

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