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North Carolina Ports records year-over-year increases in fiscal year 2020

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North Carolina Ports records year-over-year increases in fiscal year 2020. Image: North Carolina Ports
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The North Carolina State Ports Authority recorded year-over-year increases in volumes through the Port of Wilmington and Port of Morehead City in Fiscal Year 2020, which ended June 30, 2020.

North Carolina Ports container volume through the Port of Wilmington in FY20 increased by 4 percent over FY19. NC Ports set a record for refrigerated containers, moving 12,839 boxes, a 13 percent increase over the previous year. In total, refrigerated container volume has increased 267 percent between FY15 and FY20.

Additionally, the Port of Wilmington recorded 36 percent year-over-year 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 year-over-year increases in general cargo. A total of 1.1 million tons of bulk and breakbulk cargo moved through Morehead City, an increase of 2 percent 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.

Building on the positive momentum, NC Ports reached several key milestones in its more than $200 million capital improvements plan in FY20.

  • Record financial performance with earnings at an all-time high.
  • Completed an air draft improvement project over the Cape Fear River.
  • Opened 2,600 contiguous feet of container berth space at the Port of Wilmington.
  • Completed Phase 2 of its turning basin expansion project.
  • Welcomed the largest vessel to the Port of Wilmington, the 13,100 TEU MV Hyundai Hope.
  • Opened a new refrigerated container yard at the Port of Wilmington.
  • Welcomed a new rail-mounted gantry crane at the Port of Morehead City.

In addition to improvements at the Ports of Wilmington and Morehead City, North Carolina Ports also completed construction upgrades at Charlotte Inland Port. The improvements doubled the container capacity of the inland facility by enabling the grounding of loaded and empty containers while improving cargo velocity and enhancing trucker experience with improved traffic flow. These upgrades coupled with NC Ports’ enhanced next-day intermodal rail service, the Queen City Express, enabled the Ports Authority to double rail volume moving between the Port of Wilmington and Charlotte, North Carolina.

“FY20 was an exciting year for North Carolina Ports in terms of infrastructure development. These critical infrastructure improvements enable us to tailor our growth to meet customers’ needs and better facilitate long-term plans and business projections,” said Brian E. Clark, Chief Operating Officer, North Carolina Ports. “What’s even more exciting is we have several projects that will come online in our new Fiscal Year all designed to further enhance port capabilities and global connectivity.”

Moving into Fiscal Year 2021

As North Carolina Ports moves into Fiscal Year 2021, the agency is continuing with its capital improvements plan. Other improvements in development include the container terminal master plan which will increase the Port of Wilmington’s annual throughput capacity to more than one million TEUs as well as the building of a new container truck gate complex. Together, these projects will enable NC Ports to meet the demand of increased volume on container moves at the Port of Wilmington.

The Ports Authority 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  aimed at deepening and widening the shipping channel. The project now sits with the United States Congress. WNHIP must receive Congressional approval before any formal construction can begin.

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Maritime

Milaha signs key deal with major oilfield services firm

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Milaha signs key deal with major oilfield services firm. Image: MILAHA
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Milaha, one of the largest Maritime and Logistics Organizations in the Middle East, has entered into a formal agreement to cooperate with leading American oilfield services firm, Schlumberger Limited.

The Offshore & Marine pillar of Milaha signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will support value building projects while jointly driving Tawteen initiatives for Qatar. Led by Qatar Petroleum, the “Tawteen” program aims to localize the energy sector’s supply chain and create new investment opportunities to retain ‘economic value’ in Qatar.

Signed as a five-year joint development project, it will include a Qatar-owned, Qatar-flagged and Qatar-operated Oil Well Stimulation Vessel. The first of these vessels will be designed and outfitted in the country, creating the inaugural FLEXSTIM platform, which will be modified, owned and operated locally.

Pre-engineering for this significant scheme has already begun and will evolve during the final quarter of 2020.

The resulting Qatar-owned value chain will be a joint service that enhances the expertise of a global multinational service firm like Schlumberger as well as the leading Qatar-based multi-disciplined local service company like Milaha.

With over 70 years of presence in Qatar, Schlumberger supplies the petroleum industry with several key services such as seismic acquisition and processing, well testing and directional drilling, artificial lifts, well completions and groundwater extraction.

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Maritime

HHLA invests in the Adriatic Port of Trieste

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HHLA invests in the Adriatic Port of Trieste. Image: HHLA
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The Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) is taking a majority stake of 50.01 percent in the multi-function terminal “Piattaforma Logistica Trieste” (PLT) in the Italian seaport of Trieste. An agreement was signed on 28 September. The investment will be allocated contractually and organisationally to HHLA International GmbH. With this investment, HHLA is positioning itself in a growing market on the Adriatic whose strategic position offers great opportunities for development. This will be HHLA’s third participation in a port outside Hamburg after Odessa (Ukraine) and Tallinn (Estonia).

Angela Titzrath, Chairwoman of HHLA’s Executive Board: “The Adriatic region has been developing very dynamically in the past few years. As the northernmost port in the Mediterranean, Trieste is the southern gateway to Central and Eastern Europe. The investment is a strategic expansion to our existing port and intermodal network. The terminal gives us the opportunity to actively participate in and help shape new and changing cargo flows and underline our ambitions to grow internationally. At the same time, we will continue to enhance our terminals in Hamburg by investing in facilities and technology. We are a Hamburg company, at home in Europe and operating globally.”

Francesco Parisi, Chairman of PLT’s Executive Board: “HHLA’s participation strengthens the growth prospects of PLT and of the entire Port of Trieste. Our development strategy in the direction of Central and Eastern Europe fits in with HHLA’s orientation. The position of the new partners confirms us in the development of the terminal expansion we are pushing ahead with.”

The terminal facilities are within the Free Port of Trieste and take up a total area of 28 hectares. In the northern part of the facilities, mainly general cargo transports and logistic services are being handled. The new heart of the terminal is emerging in the southern part: the newly developed area will start operations in the first quarter of 2021 and is designed to handle container and RoRo traffic. The capacity of the PLT terminal will then comprise a total of approximately 300,000 TEU (standard containers), 90,000 RoRo units and 700,000 tonnes of general cargo. There is also the option to significantly expand terminal capacity through additional adjacent areas.

The strategically relevant position of the Port of Trieste on the Adriatic also allows for excellent development opportunities in hinterland transport. The PLT terminal has its own rail connection. The HHLA rail subsidiary Metrans already connects the Port of Trieste with its European intermodal network.

The transaction is subject to various conditions precedent and is expected to close in January 2021.

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Maritime

Sea Machines and Metal Shark to supply USCG R&D center with new autonomous vessel

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Sea Machines and Metal Shark to supply USCG R&D center with new autonomous vessel. Image: Sea Machines Robotics
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Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics announces today that it has partnered with shipbuilder Metal Shark Boats, of Jeanerette, Louisiana, to supply the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)’s Research and Development Center with a new Sharktech 29 Defiant vessel for the purposes of testing and evaluating the capabilities of available autonomous vessel technology.

The 29-foot, welded-aluminum monohull pilothouse vessel comes equipped with the Sea Machines SM300 autonomous-command and remote-helm control technology, offering the USCG a full range of advanced capabilities – including transit autonomy, collaborative autonomy, collision avoidance and remote vessel monitoring.

The RDC helps transition innovative technologies and provides premier analysis and decision support to enhance operational performance across all Coast Guard missions. During demonstrations scheduled for October off the coast of Hawaii, the RDC team will test and evaluate the Sharktech vessel’s autonomous capabilities for their potential in supporting USCG surveillance, interdiction, patrol and other missions. Following the Hawaii demonstrations, the autonomous vessel will be returned to the RDC’s New London facility, where it will be used in additional testing to investigate application to various Coast Guard missions.

“As the premier USCG facility performing research, development, test and evaluation in support of the service’s major missions, the RDC team is eager to observe Sea Machines’ system in action,” said USCG’s Derek Meier, assistant demonstration director. “The exercises will ultimately help us determine how, when, and if this innovative technology can be used to support personnel who are executing a variety of Coast Guard activities.”

“Sea Machines is proud to actively support government agencies across a variety of projects and to expand that support to the Department of Homeland Security with this important demonstration being conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Sea Machines’ Phil Bourque, director, sales. “Our systems are being rapidly adopted by government and commercial operators alike, offering increases in on-water productivity and predictability, while reducing operational risk.”

“Since the launch of our Sharktech Autonomous Vessels division in 2018 we have been working to position Metal Shark for the autonomy revolution,” said Metal Shark’s CEO Chris Allard. “We are committed to the advancement of autonomous technology, through our relationships with leading autonomy suppliers as well as through our own R&D, and we are engaged with multiple customers, from the USCG, the Department of Defense and commercial operators. With this latest delivery, Metal Shark is proud to play a role in the Coast Guard’s autonomous technology R&D efforts.”

In 2019, Sea Machines partnered with Metal Shark to make available the Sharktech 29 Defiant vessel to commercial markets, under Metal Shark’s stock boat program. Most recently, in July, Sea Machines partnered with Huntington Ingalls Industries to accelerate the deployment of self-piloting technologies in the rising market of unmanned naval boats and ships.

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