North Carolina Ports Secures $62.8 Million to Fuel Expansion
North Carolina Ports have announced the acquisition of three neopanamax ship-to-shore cranes. The cranes, made possible through $62.8 million in financing from SunTrust Bank, will allow the Port of Wilmington to attract and accommodate the largest container ships calling on the East Coast.
The additional cranes will enable the Port of Wilmington to handle ultra-panamax vessels carrying upwards of 14,000 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) and the ability to load and offload two ultra-panamax ships simultaneously. Currently, the port can accommodate 10,000 TEU class vessels. The new neopanamax cranes, which will operate over the Port of Wilmington’s 2,650-foot new panamax container berth complex, can handle containers stacked ten units high and reach across 22 containers on a ship’s decks.
The acquisition is part of an ongoing effort by the North Carolina Ports to position itself as the ideal long-term shipping partner for the largest ships transiting the expanded Panama Canal. The port is investing more than $200 million over the next few years to improve its infrastructure.
Two of the three neopanamax cranes arrived March 29, and the final crane is expected to be on-site in early 2019. The first two cranes are scheduled to be fully operational this summer. The new cranes, each designed and constructed by Shanghai Zhenjua, Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. Inc. (ZPMC), bring the Port of Wilmington’s total number of ship-to-shore container cranes capable of servicing post-panamax vessels to seven.
“Working with the NC Ports team has been a great experience as they continue to enhance their capabilities to meet demand,” said Sandy Spiers, Wilmington city president for SunTrust Bank. “North Carolina Ports is an ideal partner for SunTrust because they share our mission of helping local communities thrive. The acquisition of additional neopanamax cranes reinforces that belief and highlights the port’s commitment to the well-being of their employees and local businesses.”
SunTrust’s Ports and Logistics practice group offers industry expertise across a wide range of sectors including ports, logistics services, trucking, freight rail and maritime operations. SunTrust currently has more than $1 billion in credit commitments across the entire transportation and logistics network, from public ports to trucking firms.