Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker today
accepted the formal orders from the Department of Defense designating the Port of Philadelphia as a Strategic Military Seaport.
"This designation is yet another historic moment for Pennsylvania and the Port of Philadelphia," Gov. Schweiker said. "The port has played a vital role in our nation's security since the days of the Revolutionary War, and it will do so again as America faces
new challenges in a post-Sept. 11 world."
The designation was made by the Military Traffic Management Command
(MTMC) and the U.S. Maritime Administration
(MARAD). Strategic Military Seaports are designated to support major force deployments during the times of national security needs under one or more national defense contingency plans.
The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority competed
for this critical designation with other ports in the North Atlantic. This particular award is a joint project under the leadership of both the MARAD and MTMC. The designation will help attract new and protect existing Department of Defense investments
in the Commonwealth. It also will leverage additional federal resources critical for seaport security in Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, a state-affiliate agency, is a landlord authority whose mission is to promote the public port facilities in Philadelphia. Its board is composed of regional, mayoral and legislative appointments.
The Port of Philadelphia is strategically located at the center of the Northeast corridor, the country's largest and richest marketplace. The port is directly accessible to more major cities by rail and truck than any other port in the country.
The Port of Philadelphia is the largest petro-chemical refining center on the East Coast and handles the most perishable food product in the nation. More than 3,000 ships load and offload at the Port of Philadelphia each year - - making it one of the busiest ports on the Atlantic Coast. The Port of Philadelphia handles
more than one-quarter of the entire North Atlantic District's annual tonnage, and is the fourth largest port in the United States for the handling of imported goods.