Capacity and (Lack of) Congestion: North Carolina Ports at a Glance

In our last blog post, we talked (okay, maybe we bragged a little) about the continued logistics infrastructure improvements to the State of North Carolina.  We continue to be more than a little excited about these enhancements and their ramifications for our state’s logistics future.

This week, we wanted to share equally-exciting news about one aspect of that infrastructure: North Carolina ports.  We recently attended a presentation by Cliff R. Pyron, Jr., Senior Manager of External North Carolina Ports, in which he spoke at length about the present and future of our port system.

North Carolina Ports: The Present

The North Carolina State Ports Authority currently manages four facilities: the Ports of Wilmington and Morehead City, as well as two inland facilities in Charlotte and Greensboro.  These ports are associated with $14 billion dollars in annual economic contribution and 76,000 jobs in the state – numbers that only continue to grow. north carolina ports

In addition to the infrastructure enhancements, there are many factors that have led to the successes that the ports are experiencing.  Chief among them are capacity and congestion.

Capacity: North Carolina’s ports have space.  With a navigation channel of 42 feet and a capacity of 600,000 TEUs, the 284-acre Port of Wilmington can handle just about anything – including vessels that can carry up to 10,000 containers.  The Port also has over 200 reefer plugs and a brand-new 100,000-square-foot cold storage unit – the only on-terminal cold storage facility on the east coast.

The Port of Wilmington is also home to two post-Panamax container cranes that average 45 net moves per hour (with more cranes on order). The port is visited by between 500 and 900 trucks each and every day.

Congestion: Speaking of trucks, they can wait hours to get into the Port of NY and NJ, the largest port on the east coast.  Further down I-95, there is no such congestion.  A single move at one of the North Carolina ports takes an average of 18 minutes, and a dual move only takes about 30.

Our ports also experienced a large spike in volume due to congestion at the largest port on the west coast.  Recent workforce issues hampered the ability to get in and out of the Los Angeles/Long Beach ports.  Western shippers dealt with this congestion by rerouting shipments to North Carolina’s ports via the Panama Canal.

So, we have enormous capacity; we have no congestion; and the state of North Carolina is pouring resources into its logistics infrastructure.  What’s next?

North Carolina Ports: The Future

The Goal of the state’s port system is to enhance the economy of North Carolina, and tremendous headway is being made in that regard.  Highlights of this progress include:

  • New partnerships with major container company alliances
  • New partnerships with large shippers like ZIM Integrated Shipping, Ltd.
  • The growth of industry near the Port of Wilmington
  • The recently-completed Turning Basin Expansion Project at the Port of Wilmington which widened the Basin from 1,200 feet to 1,400 feet to accommodate larger ships
  • Rise of intermodal capabilities related to the CSX expansion, including the brand-new Queen City Express which allows the transport of goods by rail between the Port of Wilmington and Charlotte

With every aspect of North Carolina logistics looking up, it may be time to consider what North Carolina can do for your company.  And, when you do, let Kanban show you what we can do for your supply chain.