For the first time ever, the Port of Wilmington
, NC handled over one million tons of breakbulk cargo in one year for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2002. "Breakbulk cargo" is classified as any commodity that is shipped in units other than maritime containers or in free flowing "bulk" form.
Cargoes contributing to the record-breaking volume of 1,001,728 tons were export woodpulp and import lumber. Woodpulp, which is exported worldwide from Wilmington for the manufacture of higher grades of paper, exceeded last year's volume by 11%. Lumber, imported from northern Europe
and Scandinavia for the home improvement and construction industry, increased tonnage by 77% over last year.
Continuing into the new fiscal year are several terminal improvement projects that will augment Wilmington's customer service capabilities. Most importantly, construction continues for the Wilmington Harbor Deepening project bringing the 42-foot navigation channel in the Cape Fear River to the Port of Wilmington by November 2003. The relocation of the ocean bar entrance will be completed and new navigation aids installed this fall, while dredging is underway to complete the 42-foot channel to the State Port, and to add a vessel passing lane. In conjunction with the channel deepening, improvements to handle the new depth at Wilmington's berths are in progress.
Additionally, the first phase of the rehabilitation for one of the Port's primary woodpulp berths is nearing completion. When the nearly $6 million project is finished around the end of 2002, ship loading operations should improve in both efficiency and productivity.
Vessel productivity also is being enhanced through a project to extend the 50-foot gauge container crane rail on the docks. The first phase of the extension has been completed with the remaining portion scheduled to be finished in early fall.
Also expected to finish this fall is the construction on the Wilmington Bulk animal feed facility. A joint venture public/private partnership between the Ports Authority and Wilmington Bulk LLC
, a consortium of North Carolina swine and poultry producers, the operation initially will handle imports of animal feeds, but is being designed for possible grain exports in the future.
The NC State Ports Authority owns and operates North Carolina's ports in Wilmington and Morehead City, plus inland terminals in Charlotte and the Piedmont Triad in Greensboro. The ports system links the State's consumers, businesses and industry to world markets and serve as magnets attracting business and industry desiring access to these markets.
Top trading partners are China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, India, Venezuela, Canada, the United Kingdom and Italy. Primary exports include forest products, food and general merchandise. Top imports include animal feeds, metal products, chemicals, rubber and general merchandise.