The State of Delaware, USA, has reached a preliminary agreement with the Gulftainer Group to lease the Port of Wilmington, construct a new container terminal on the Delaware River and significantly expand jobs at the Port over the next decade, Governor John Carney and Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock announced yesterday.
The Port of Wilmington is located at the confluence of the Delaware and Christina Rivers, only 63 miles or 4 hours from the Atlantic Ocean on the US East Coast. The port boasts a vast area of 308 acres (125 hectares) and has 8 berths with the draft of 11.6m. Strategically located as a gateway to a huge consumer market, the port plays a vital role in importing tropical fruits and juice concentrates from South America.
It used to be Volkswagen’s largest facility in the US, until the German car maker changed its East Coast distribution system and later established a totally new organization on the continent with own plants in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and in Puebla, Mexico. Still, Wilmington continues to handle automobiles providing services to Hoegh Autoliners, Wallenius Wilhelmsen, Mitsui O.S.K Lines (MOL), Liberty Global Logistics and other car carriers at the dedicated Ro-Ro berth.
Apart from that, the diverse cargo base of the Wilmington port includes steel, forest products, bulk ores and minerals, livestock, wind turbine components and other project cargoes. The container volumes are not large at the moment – about 215,000 TEU per year – mostly limited to reefers.
According to the preliminary agreement, Gulftainer’s subsidiary GT USA would lease the Port of Wilmington for a term of 50 years paying annual royalties to the State of Delaware based on the cargo volume passing through the port. These payments are expected to grow from approximately USD 6 mln in 2018 to USD 13 mln by 2027. The company also agrees to invest more than USD 580 mln in the port through 2027, including approximately USD 410 mln for a new container facility at DuPont’s former Edgemoor site, which construction would begin by 2022.
“We see enormous opportunity at the Port of Wilmington and are gratified by the support for GT’s plans from Delaware unions, business, and broader community,” said Gulftainer CEO Peter Richards. “We want to restore the Port as an important national cargo gateway, doubling cargoes, doubling revenue to the State, investing hundreds of millions of dollars and adding thousands of workers over the next decade. We see only upside in the US and the Port of Wilmington is poised to become one of the biggest success stories in the US ports and logistics sector.”
This will be the second investment of Gulftainer into the US facilities. The company has recently signed a 35-year concession with the Canaveral Port Authority in Florida and is investing up to USD 100 mln in Canaveral Cargo Terminal’s (CCT) – a new state-of-the-art container and multi-purpose cargo terminal.