Source: Lloyd’s List
May 19th 2016
DELAWARE state-owned Port of Wilmington needs more than $300m for infrastructure development to stay competitive, with private capital required to fund this growth due to budget constraints.
According to a proposal presented by the port, investments need to be made to rebuild existing facilities and expand port capacity to meet future market demand.
Wilmington port markets itself as the key port in the state of Delaware, which handles an average of 5.7m tonnes of cargo annually.
The 20-year expansion plan aims to increase the port berth utilisation rate to 70%, with export and import volumes targeted to grow by 3% and 1%, respectively, per year.
Comprising two parts, the proposal calls for more investments from the private sector for port development.
The first part, which requires around $180m in funding, is to rebuild existing cold storage warehouses and reconfigure the port’s congested truck entrance over the next five to 10 years.
The second part is a $145m project that will add capacity to the port to meet base market demand for 2035 and will give it a new berth structure, new cranes and new offloading and storage space.
The port has existing constraints, including congestion, the poor condition of a floating berth and a lack of double stack rail, where intermodal containers are stacked one on top of the other on railroad cars.
Jeffrey Bullock, Delaware secretary of state and chairman of Diamond State Port Corp, which owns the port, said the investment is significant.
“They are all a challenge to a state that has significant budget constraints. So if we are going to expand in a significant way, we are going to have to partner with other investors,” he said.