Wilmington - Building upon Governor Pat McCrory's efforts to increase trade and promote economic growth at our state ports, North Carolina officials welcomed the largest containership to visit the Port of Wilmington. The Hanjin Baltimore, measuring 984 feet in length and 140 feet in width, is the first of many post-Panamax vessels to be served at the recently updated container port in North Carolina.
"Our state ports are an important asset for creating jobs and connecting North Carolinians to opportunities around the world," said Governor McCrory. "This important milestone shows our commitment to supporting our ports and overall economy is paying off and keeping North Carolina globally competitive."
The expansion of the North Carolina ports is a key part of Governor McCrory's 25-year Vision for North Carolina. That includes providing access for the Panamax vessels, expanding access to the ports inland by developing intermodal train service at the Port of Wilmington, and pursuing opportunities to develop intermodal facilities along the I-95 corridor to improve the movement of goods through North Carolina and along the East Coast.
"This is an important day for our Ports and for the State of North Carolina," said Executive Director Paul J. Cozza. "We've been working diligently on modernizing our ports and to see our plans come to fruition by proving that the Port of Wilmington is big ship ready is a great feeling."
Built in 2005 by Hyundai Heavy Industries, the Hanjin Baltimore has served various Far East trade lanes in its tenure. Holding 7,500 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), which are containers 20 feet long and eight feet tall, the vessel is approximately 63 percent larger than any ship that has ever visited the Port of Wilmington.
"This vessel not only signifies improving global trade but it also represents the future," said Chief Commercial Officer Greg Fennell. "If there was ever a doubt that we could not accept a post-Panamax vessel, this ship puts that debate to rest."
Recent infrastructure advancements allow North Carolina's Ports to improve upon its operational efficiencies, to keep cargo moving and to remain congestion free. The Port of Wilmington will be prepared to handle even larger post-Panamax vessels, up to the 10,000 TEU class, by later this summer.
"This landmark event is the product of a North Carolina Ports infrastructure investment plan to meet shipping industry requirements," said Tom Adams, Chairman of the Board of Directors. "With the expansion of the Panama Canal taking place last weekend, the Port of Wilmington is adding new cranes, an enhanced berth, a wider turning basin and will have further expansion in the future."
North Carolina's Ports in Wilmington and Morehead City, plus inland terminals in Charlotte and Greensboro, link the state's consumers, businesses and industry to world markets, and serve as magnets to attract new business and industry while receiving no direct taxpayer subsidy. Port activities contribute statewide to 76,000 jobs and $700 million each year in state and local tax revenues.