North Carolina ports say well staffed and could help ease pressure at other ports | DFA 90.7

North Carolina’s two coastal ports have largely avoided the major backups and delays seen at other ports across the country, and they are trying to make it known that they have room to accommodate more ships and help alleviate some of the backups.

According to North Carolina Ports executive director Brian Clark, the ports of Wilmington and Morehead City have operated at around 50% of their container capacity over the past year.

Clark said he told shippers that both ports are well staffed and that they could help relieve pressure on other major ports if shippers redirect their ships to North Carolina instead.

“We have the capacity to grow and we are actively engaged with shippers and freight interests to offer the port as an alternative,” said Clark.

He also said he was hopeful that an announcement regarding more shipments to North Carolina could come in the new year.

Ports in North Carolina are generally not the first stop for most container ships and freighters, and Clark said delays at major nearby ports – such as the Port of Savannah – have caused ships sometimes arrive days late in North Carolina.

“The additional challenge that we are seeing is the grouping of ships. This is where multiple ships from the same service land on top of each other,” he said.

The pandemic also did not appear to slow the amount of goods entering the state, Clark said. The ports of Morehead City and Wilmington receive about 18 container ships a week, and they are able to match the record amount of cargo they handled in the last fiscal year of around 3 million tonnes.

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