North Carolina Ports has completed the expansion of its turning basin at the Port of Wilmington, US, under the port’s ongoing infrastructure investment plan.
The expansion has enabled the port to house post-Panamax vessels with a length of 1,150ft and a breadth of 158ft, as well as vessels in an 8,000 to 10,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) range.
As part of the expansion, an existing bulk pier and dredging along the port’s side of the Cape Fear River have been eliminated in order to enlarge the turning basin from 1,200ft to 1,400ft.
North Carolina Ports chief commercial officer Greg Fennell said: “This is a commitment of support to our existing and future customers.
“We are making the necessary investments, we are big-ship ready and we will continue to handle these larger vessels deployed to the US Southeast.”
Following the expansion, the Port of Wilmington received its first large vessel Yang-Ming Unity, which utilised the expanded turning basin.
Measuring 1,101ft in length and 140ft in width, the vessel carried around 8,200 TEUs of capacity.
North Carolina Ports currently handles 45 net crane moves per hour in each of its post-Panamax cranes, along with average truck turn times of 18 minutes for a single move and 30 minutes for a dual move.
Part of North Carolina governor Pat McCrory’s 25-year vision for the state, the expansion of North Carolina Ports includes providing access for the Panamax vessels, expanding access to the ports inland by developing intermodal train service at the Port of Wilmington.
The expansion also includes exploring opportunities to develop intermodal facilities along the I-95 corridor to improve the movement of goods through North Carolina and along the East Coast.