“New business within our bulk division, our ability to diversify our cargo interests and our continued cost containment measures have placed North Carolina ports in our strongest financial position since 2008,” said Jeff Strader, interim executive director of the North Carolina State Ports Authority, in a prepared statement. “We project this growth trend to continue into our next fiscal year.”
New and expanding bulk commodities business at both ports — including the exportation of North Carolina wood chips — largely contributed to the net gains, authority officials said. The Port of Morehead City exported more than 208,000 tons of chips and the Port of Wilmington, about 320,000 tons.
The Wilmington port also experienced growth in imports of UAN, a liquid fertilizer solution, and grains used primarily as pork and poultry feed. The Morehead City port registered an increase in metal products, such as rail and scrap metal, and a steady volume of imported raw rubber for tire manufacturing.
However, following two years of unprecedented growth, container volume declined about 5 percent compared with FY2011, authority officials said. In addition, breakbulk volume decreased 7 percent.
The Port of Wilmington is served by the Wilmington Terminal Railroad, which is managed by Genesee & Wyoming Inc. subsidiary Rail Link Inc. and interchanges with CSX Transportation. The Port of Morehead City is served by Carolina Coastal Railway.
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