Port of Wilmington, Delaware shows strength
The Port of Wilimington, Delaware is a top gateway for fruits and related products. But wind power projects may provide a another niche for the port to build on.
By Paul Richardson, AJOT
Latest container throughput figures provided by the Port of Wilmington continue to show double digit increases year-on-year. a
Comparing 2011 on 2010, Wilmington’s container throughput totaled almost 287,500 teu, up 11.2% on the previous year, and 2012 on 2011 has all the indications of continuing the impressive flow increase.
On the quayside, Wilmington’s extensive storage ground space of approximately 50-acres fitted with reefer connections, continues to dominate the port’s position as a leader fruit cargo handler. The port of Wilmington, annually handles around 1.5 million tons of fruit. The port is the gateway for bananas, pineapples, grapes, deciduous fruit out of Chile and Argentina, and citrus from Morocco. The dominance of the port in handling fruits is really clear with bananas. Wilmington is the largest banana-port in North America and the second largest in the world.
Major customers including Dole Fresh Fruit Co, Great White fleet and Chiquita operate regular services with connections to and from Central America over the port with a modern fleet of container vessels.
Furthermore, a seasonal containerised fruit carrying service is offered by Pacific Seaways covering the first four months of the calendar year.
But, Wilmington’s container throughput are not only linked to the regional fruit trade.
The CKYH Alliance comprising COSCO, K Line, Yangming and Hanjin utilise the port on two of their four jointly-operated Asia/US East coast service network. Both these services, known as the AWE1 and AWE3, presently use the Panama Canal transit option to cover the important trade route, and importantly, Wilmington is positioned to pick up both inbound and outbound volumes on the services.
AWE1 is entirely tonnaged by Hanjin with 4,000-teu vessels, with a port rotation of Ningbo, Shanghai, Pusan, New York, Wilmington, Savannah, Pusan and Ningbo.
On the AWE3 service, Yangming deploys all the capacity with nine x 4,300 teu vessels covering : Hong Kong, Yantian, Kaohsiung, Shanghai, Pusan, Manzanillo (Mex), Colon, Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington, Hong Kong.
On this service, an industry best transit time westbound from Wilmington to Hong Kong of just 31 days exists.
Wind Power The Port of Wilmington is also actively positioning itself as a mid-Atlantic gateway for wind power projects. On April 23rd 2012, the Port handled its first shipment of wind turbine blades manufactured by Repower Systems. MV Star Hansa. discharged 45 REpower wind turbine blades each of which were over 147’ long and are destined for one of the largest wind projects in Pennsylvania, the Twin Ridges Wind Farm in Somerset County. When construction is completed, the Twin Ridges Wind Farm will consist of 68 MM92 turbines. The wind turbine’s wingspan is over 303' and the MM92 is capable of generating 2.05 megawatts of power even at a wind speed of only 27.96 miles per hour. REpower, a Suzlon group company, ranks as the world’s fifth largest wind turbine manufacturing group specializing in both onshore and offshore wind turbines.
The Repower selection of the port adds another dimension to Wilmington’s business that should enable the port to continue to make good use of the available quayside space.