NEW HANOVER COUNTY — NC Ports is partnering with ocean transportation company Seaboard Marine to increase the Port of Wilmington’s connectivity with Central America.
“We are excited that Seaboard Marine has launched this new Wilmington, NC — North Central America service, providing our customers greater access to growing market,” NC Ports executive director Brian E. Clark said in a press release announcing the partnership Wednesday.
The new weekly service to Central America will begin with a Wilmington port call, in which vessels will load or unload cargo, on December 5th.
The service will deepen NC Ports’ integration with apparel and textile supply chains and refrigerated cargo flows, including fresh produce. It will connect to ports in San Salvador, El Salvador, Santo Tomas, Guatemala, Managua, Nicaragua, and Puerto Cortes, Honduras.
The weekly service will involve two container vessels providing both dry and refrigerated container service.
“The launch of this direct ocean transportation service presents new trade opportunities, offering cost savings, faster deliveries, and improved supply chain efficiency,” Seaboard Marine regional vice president of Central America Jose Concepcion said in the press release.
Development of NC Port’s $14 million refrigerated container yard project is expected to enhance the new partnership. The port now offers access to 1,500 refrigerated container plugs, allowing Seaboard Marine to benefit from increased capacity to store cold goods.
NC Ports’ new intermodal facility, expected to break ground in early 2024, is anticipated to aid dry container shipping. The $22.6 million project is designed to transition 250,000 container boxes from trucks to rail over the next decade, and will increase rail service from 14,000 to more than 50,000 rail movements annually. It’s anticipated for completion in Spring 2025.
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