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Wilmington Port News


KJHburg

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Not news related, but I thought this might be a good place to ask a question.

I am attempting to track down historical information on the port, like why the current location was chosen, any past locations that were used, founding/funding and so forth. I've been doing a bit of googling and haven't came across much of interest. 

If anybody could point me in the correct direction or to a local historian I would be greatly appreciated. 

Thanks! 

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I stumbled on this site, http://www.nchistoricsites.org/brunswic/brunswic.htm,  looking up port info a few months ago.  Basically the port was further down river,  on the west bank, and in deeper water.   Competing business parties decided to build the port closer to the new  settlement, which was New Caledonia (Wilmington) citing safety concerns.   A very interesting read about that site with was burned by the spanish and was well on its way to flourishing before it was abandoned. 

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21 hours ago, KJHburg said:

Awesome news! I think that Wilmington and other ports on the Cape Fear really need to do everything they can to expand and gain more cargo traffic. I’m surprised that the state hasn’t attempted to seriously invest in Wilmington’s port in order to take advantage of the Panamax expansion.

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3 hours ago, blopp1234 said:

Awesome news! I think that Wilmington and other ports on the Cape Fear really need to do everything they can to expand and gain more cargo traffic. I’m surprised that the state hasn’t attempted to seriously invest in Wilmington’s port in order to take advantage of the Panamax expansion.

Honestly, our ports can only do so much with our geography. Both ports have to dredge even deeper to take advantage of bigger ships, and I just don't see that happening any more than it already has. However, it is amazing that Wilmington is finally reaching a level of activity it needs to compete with the rest of the Mid-Atlantic South. 

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Think I read where Beaufort Inlet can go down to 45 feet and Cape Fear as deep as 42.  The inlet is at 38 now.  Honestly the best spot was or has been near the mouth of the Cape Fear near Southport for undredged deep water.  But the shifting shoals off shore are more of an issue.  But anything is possible with enough money invested.  Perplexed by the current location of Wilmington port.  Why it was placed shore side and not mainland side.  It would have made for better transport infrastructure options (unlimited space foe rail).  Happy with the progress though.

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Two things to respond to your post: 

1. An area near Southport was originally proposed as the NC International Port, but it was fiercely opposed, and the state has not done anything since. The state does own the land, but I doubt anything will be done for now. The NCIP was supposed to be NC's answer to Charleston, Savannah and Norfolk, especially with a beefed up infrastructure system. But, it was poorly thought out, and poorly planned, and the state just couldn't fight the battle with environmentalists, a large industrial land-owner, and the town of Southport. 

2. I believe the Port of Wilmington was built that way because the mainland side was more swamp? I could be entirely wrong. But in some ways, it works out that way because it's more accessible to I-40. 

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This is going to be a long reply but i have to get this off my chest.

 I grew up in Eastern NC Clinton to be exact.  My old man is an Army vet so I have moved around a bit.  But NC is home. The big city for me was Fayetteville.  I had travelled back and forth to NJ many times visiting family.  The great migtration north during Jim Crowe days.  I often wondered why NC does not have infrastrucurre like NJ hell even Richmond.  I saw urban industrial NC travelling to Winston to see my sisiter in college. But it wasnt on the same scale.  I now understand it and my home state, I live in OK for the time being, has gotten better and raised its natioanl profile.  However, NC underachieves in a major way and it has to do with mentality and the need to hold on to small town dreams and the simple farm life.  This article kind of bears that in some way.  I get angered when folk speak glowingly about Charelston and Savanna and rightfully so.  Their preservation efforts back in the 60's and 70's has turned them in to tourist havens.  But why not Wilmington, do people even know it exist outside the southeast.  I blame NC and its "Rip Van Winkle" mind set and never seeing the forrest for the trees.  Was urban renewal so important, was not wanting to attract undesirables so great, was wanting to keep the city small so important that for decades it fell behind.  Hell I-95 was routed the way it was out of fear of "crime" from up north.  Here we are many years later and the state ports authority can't get its crap together to offer an attainable plan.  NC is losing out on car factories because the east despises the piedmont.  Interstates are haphazardly built to accommodate other state ports but our own has one direct interstate link.  HB2, and ultra conservative politicians have killed numerous relocation possibilities.  So this mega port was not concieved at the right time but i like the idea not the location.  That cut in the inlet should have been done 30 years ago when there was not a lot of people in Brunswick county.  Southport should have been the natural site for a deepwater port but hindsight is 50/50.  Moving on.

My wisdom has taught me that if you dream small small things happen; dream big and reap the rewards if executed right.  I have no hope of this project ever turnung dirt . My solution is use Eagle island across from the current state port for another container port but I am no engineer, geologist or businessman.  Or radio island would be more logical since it has an adequate rail spur, land and only minutes from the open ocean.  

I have said many times NC residents and thier self deprecating attitudes are the only reason why the state does not excel or lead the country in certain industries.  If there were initial investment say back in the 60's and 70's on port infrastucture this would not be an issue.  Say what you will about the natural obstacles that are in the way of a deepwater port but a good engineer and money can overcome that.  Plenty of examples around the world of that.  NC had its chances to predict the future but was willing to rely on Chareston and Norlolk to handle our business.  Now its a big deal to handle our own business and create revenue thru shipping; hmmm who would have guessed that 30 years ago.  It blows my mind.

 Case in point I am seeing a commercial for Myrtle Beach right now on ESPN.  What is the difference in the beach in Horry  county and Brunswick county?  Nothing, SC just knows how to market, create business opportunity and come together for the good of the state.  NC on the hand, is slow to react, to fractured and has a inferiority complex that is real.   And for no reason. Where are the dreamers the wealthy go getters who can advocate for projects such as this.  Too me that is the problem.  There is no large entitiy invested enough to see the state build large infrastrucutre projects.  Its sad and concerning. 

 Many of people ask me where I'm from and they all say what a beautiful state.  If you ask most NC residents they would come up with reasons why this not one of the msot beautiful.  To humble, to nice and soon to late.  Sorry about the rant but the article hit a nerve when a read about the save the Cape group.  Similar to a group suing the city of Charlotte to stop a high rise from beig built "near" their "urban" neighborhood.  Just indicidive of why NC trails other southern states in tourism visibility.  Anxious to see what happens with the Cape Fear Skyway and the further port upgrades.  At this point I dont think Wilmington will ever be even close to other ports but just trying to get there will satisfy me.  Ok, I feel better.   

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More smaller cruise ships coming to Wilimington and given our population of NC I think big cruise ships should be considered at the NC Ports facility as they are successful in Charleston yet the locals hate them there. 

https://portcitydaily.com/local-news/2018/08/24/more-small-to-medium-cruise-ships-coming-to-downtown-wilmington/

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As a Richmonder, I can relate the feeling that you have missed out on opportunities that could have changed the city. For us, it was a what if we hadn’t lost our banks to charlotte, or if we hadn’t let the possibility of being a hub slip through our fingers. I get the same sort of vibe from Wilmington, which could have been on a level much higher than it currently is if certain decisions were made. However, I think Wilmington will begin to explode(in terms of development). As cities such as Charleston and Savannah become more and more expensive, Wilmington will be seen as a sort of hidden treasure, offering lots of things that Charleston and Savannah offer, just at a lower price. While there will need to be major improvements in infrastructure, such as rail service, a possible new port or new interstates, I think Wilmington can do it.

Wilmington is poised for success based on its geography, and leaders in NC need to take advantage of it. They have the opportunity to create their own unique southern port city and I think that within 20-30 years, with the right decision making, it could compete with cities such as Charleston and Savannah easily. Rebuilding the port in Southport or on the western side of the cape fear would be a great start, along with increasing infrastructural connections with he NC urban crescent, which would see Wilmington as a much more viable option for shipping goods out of country than other ports in the southeast. Wilmington has loads of potential and charm that many other cities don’t have and it needs to exploit this an lose its 20th century ideals that are holding it back, only then, it will be able to shine at the levels of other southeastern cities.

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Record port traffic this year in terms of containers even with a week closure due the Hurricane.  

Look at this quote:

""What port officials have said keeps North Carolina’s ports -- there is a second in Morehead City -- competitive with larger ports in Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia is its rapid turnaround times for trucks. A truck making a single run -- either dropping off or picking up cargo or a container -- can be in and out in 20 minutes or less from the ports.""

https://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20181215/port-of-wilmington-continues-to-ramp-up

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