The Port of Wilmington saw an increase in port volumes last fiscal year, according to a news release from the N.C. State Ports Authority this week.
In the 2019-20 fiscal year, which ended June 30, the Wilmington port had a 4% increase in its container volume over the previous fiscal year, officials said in the release Thursday.
The release did not include the number of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) that came through the Wilmington port last fiscal year, and ports authority officials did not immediately respond to a request Friday for those figures.
But port officials previously reported container volumes
of more than 306,000 TEUs during the 2018-19 fiscal year, a 5% dip from the more than 322,000 TEUs in the previous fiscal year, which was a record for the facility.
During the 2019-20 fiscal year, the Port of Wilmington set a record for its refrigerated container activity, moving 12,839 boxes. That was a 13% increase over the previous year. Refrigerated container volumes over the past five fiscal years have increased 267%, officials said in the release.
The Port of Wilmington also had a 36% percent year-over-year growth for general cargo operations, moving a total of 2.8 million tons of bulk and breakbulk cargo in fiscal year 2019-20, stated the release.
“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,” Paul Cozza, executive director of N.C. Ports, said in the release. “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 Port of Morehead City, which does not move containers, also saw a year-over-year increase in general cargo with a total of 1.1 million tons of bulk and breakbulk cargo moved, an increase of 2% over fiscal year 2018-19, stated the release.
“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 N.C. Ports due to our ability to offer more supply chain and value delivery options,” Hans Bean, N.C. Port's chief commercial officer, said in the release.
N.C. Ports reached several key milestones in its more than $221 million capital improvement plan during the past fiscal year, including phase two of its turning basin expansion and the opening of its new refrigerated container yard at the Port of Wilmington, the release pointed out.
The Wilmington port also serviced this spring the largest vessel in port history with the more than 13,000 TEU MV Hyundai Hope, one of the larger vessels visiting ports along the East Coast.