In a development that is expected to dramatically expand trade between Pennsylvania and Asia, PhilaPort today welcomed the arrival of the vessel Wan Hai 315 to the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal. The service’s maiden call was welcomed by international dignitaries, elected officials, supply chain professionals and port officials.
“The arrival of Wan Hai Lines’ Asia – America 9 (AA9) Service gives shippers a better alternative for trading with Asia. More broadly, it will help alleviate US East Coast port congestion,” said Jeff Theobald, Executive Director and CEO of PhilaPort, the authority that manages the Commonwealth’s marine terminals along the Delaware River.
The weekly container service makes calls to Haiphong, Vietnam; Shekou (Shenzhen), Shanghai, and Qingdao, China; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; and Balboa, Panama on its way to Philadelphia. It is an ideal service for shippers from the US East Coast and Mid-West and Eastern Canada.
“Velocity, velocity, velocity. Today, shippers only care about speed to markets. They are motivated to find better alternatives to what they are experiencing today,” said Tom Holt, Jr., of Holt Logistics, part of a group which operates the terminal under long-term lease from PhilaPort. “This new service gives shippers a product that is unheard of in these times.”
According to export development officials, Pennsylvania manufactured goods and farm products need more efficient routes to China, which is the second largest economy in the world. China is Pennsylvania’s biggest overseas export market, surpassing Germany and the United Kingdom. 2021 saw a record value of PA exports to China of $3.4 billion. This surpassed 2020’s total of $2.9 billion and 2019’s total of $2.6 billion.
In 2020, Pennsylvania exported $335 million in goods to Taiwan. The two-way trade is over $1 billion. The Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association recently made a trip to Taiwan because of its importance as a market for Pennsylvania cargoes.
As US manufacturers diversify their sourcing and look for other growing Asian markets, Vietnam tops the list of targets. It is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Pennsylvania exports to Vietnam have risen significantly, from $85 million in 2019 to $109 million in 2020, and up to $113 million in 2021.
“We know that the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal sits at a unique nexus not found anywhere else on the US East Coast: a port that has capacity to grow along with deep water, three class I railroads, a direct connection to I-95, and surrounded by one of the fastest growing industrial warehouse markets in North America,” said Sean Mahoney, PhilaPort’s Director of Marketing.
In 2016, Governor Wolf provided $330 million for port development. This, among other things, rebuilt terminal berths, bought three super post-Panamax cranes, built new warehousing, acquired land adjacent to the terminal, and built the 155-acre Southport Marine Terminal.
On February 4th of this year, Governor Wolf again entrusted the Port with additional capital resources - $246 million. The money will improve the terminal platform – reinforced paving, drainage, electricity, lighting – to fully utilize Electric Rubber Tired Gantry Cranes (ERTGs) and other new container moving equipment being purchased by Holt Logistics.
Port stakeholders believe this type of state investment is the archetype of good public policy because it leverages private, port-related spending, including new warehousing, trucks, chasses, transfer facilities, and distribution centers.
“Where we are today is only a whisper of where we can be 10 years from now,” said Jerry Sweeney, Chairman of PhilaPort. “Wan Hai Lines’ maiden call announces the next chapter of The Port of Philadelphia’s historic upward trajectory,” he continued.
Today’s event included Governor Wolf as keynote; Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney; Wan Hai Lines Vice-Chair Randy Chen; Deputy Director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, Rita P. Chen; and US Customs and Border Protection Area Port Director for the Port of Philadelphia, Joseph V. Martella.
Economic Impact 40,000 TEUs total per year – With Larger Sized Ships:
- A total of 720 jobs will be created in the Commonwealth.
- The additional containers will generate $194.4 million in economic impact.
- $7.2 million in state and local taxes.
- 157 of those will be direct PhilaPort jobs