Ports Authority closes deal on site purchase

The property for the new North Carolina International Port (NCIP) on the West bank of the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County now The North Carolina State Ports Authority seeks a firm, or team of firms, to manage the development process of the proposed North Carolina International Port (NCIP) on the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County belongs to the NC State Ports Authority.

On April 12, Ports Authority officials closed on the purchase of a 600-acre undeveloped industrial site, nine miles from the Atlantic Ocean, and adjacent to the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point and Progress Energy’s Brunswick Nuclear Plant.

Conceptual plans for the NCIP envision a major international port terminal, which would catapult North Carolina into the ranks of major US ports. The facility would have a capacity of 1.5 million teus, 4,000 linear feet of berthing and an industrial park on site for distribution centers or related operations.

‘The new terminal will multiply the number of jobs already generated by the Ports, both local and statewide,’ said Ports Authority Board Chairman Carl J. Stewart Jr. More than 48,000 jobs statewide are related to activities at the Ports of Morehead City and Wilmington.

‘The NC International Port also will create new local and state tax revenues, which are now almost $30 million annually,’ Mr. Stewart said. ‘It will provide a gigantic boost to economic development, as major manufacturing and assembly projects must be near deepwater port facilities with global service coverage.’

The Authority is moving forward quickly to plan development of the new terminal. Among the tasks required before the new port could open are dredging the navigational channel, design and construction of terminal facilities, and working with state and federal authorities to ensure highway and rail access.

‘We plan to launch the environmental impact study process as soon as possible to give the public opportunities for input at the earliest possible stage,’ said NC State Ports Authority CEO Tom Eagar. ‘In the meantime, we have been actively seeking input from elected officials and community leaders around the area.’

Representatives from the Ports Authority have discussed dredging the Cape Fear River navigational channel to 50 feet with the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps has agreed to Congressional resolution language to authorize a ‘reconnaissance study.’

‘The reconnaissance study is the prerequisite to a feasibility study which the Corps must perform for the dredging to be authorized.’ Mr. Eagar said.

‘We are working with the North Carolina Congressional delegation, especially Senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr and Representative Mike McIntyre, to secure the necessary authorizations and funding for the project.’

Representatives from the Authority also have met with officials with the NC Department of Transportation and state and local elected officials to discuss highway and rail access to the NCIP. A working group is being established to coordinate this effort.

The Authority is also in the process of selecting a firm to manage the design and development the NC International Port. Recommendations for approval of the designer selection will be presented to the State Building Commission at its May meeting followed by presentation of a design contract to the Ports Authority Board of Directors for approval.

Financing to purchase the property was obtained through investors’ purchases of port facilities revenue bonds. The Ports Authority plans to seek a private-sector partner to invest in the development of the actual port facility.