Raleigh, N.C. – North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and four of his House colleagues toured new cranes at the Port of Wilmington on Wednesday bought with state budget capital funds provided by the General Assembly.
Local Reps. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover), Holly Grange (R-New Hanover), Frank Iler (R-Brunswick) and transportation leader Rep. John Torbett (R-Gaston) also joined board members and senior staff of the North Carolina State Ports Authority (NCSPA) to view two cranes that arrived in late March.
The cranes cost $33.8 million, weigh more than 1,500 tons each, and allow the Port of Wilmington to service bigger cargo ships. A third crane will arrive later this year.
“We’re excited to help the Port of Wilmington realize new economic opportunities in partnership with the state General Assembly,” said House Speaker Tim Moore. “These cranes help connect North Carolina companies with global markets.”
Prior to 2015, the NCSPA received no recurring appropriations from the state General Assembly. In 2016 and 2017, the legislature began providing recurring annual appropriations of $35 million to expand the Port of Wilmington and purchase the cranes to increase the port’s economic potential for North Carolina.
For 2018 and 2019, that recurring annual appropriation to NCSPA increases to $45 million.
“The General Assembly made a long-term commitment to growing the Port of Wilmington and it’s amazing to see these incredible cranes in place,” said Rep. Holly Grange (R-New Hanover).
The funds have also been used to enlarge the ship turning basin, accommodate larger vessels and upgrade the Port of Wilmington’s berths to load and unload multiple freighters simultaneously.
“The hard work of the General Assembly is paying off for our state ports, a benefit that will help North Carolina’s economy continue to grow from the mountains to the coast,” said Rep. John Torbett (R-Gaston), a co-chairman of the state House Transportation Committee.
The annually appropriated funds can also be used for dredging maintenance in the future, according to the state budget.
“It’s critical that we continue to help the Port of Wilmington grow,” said Rep. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover). “These cranes are only the beginning.”
Maintaining shipping channels at federally authorized depths remains a challenge in coastal North Carolina that requires NCSPA to supplement those costs with operating revenues.
“Our goal is to maximize the Port of Wilmington’s economic effect on not just the coast , but all of North Carolina,” said Rep. Frank Iler (R-Brunswick), co-chairman of the House Transportation Committee. “It’s a proud day for the state to see these cranes in place.”