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North Carolina ports pull out of slump
The North Carolina State Ports Authority ended the fiscal year on June 30 with a net profit for the first time since 2008, an accomplishment that officials said stemmed mainly from substantial increases in wood chip exports and grain imports, reported Morning Star (MCT).
The authority, which operates seaports in Wilmington and Morehead City, reported a net profit of US$394,000 for the year.
"That's marked improvement year over year as well as if we look at it from an immediate historical standpoint," said Jeff Strader, interim Ports Authority executive director.
It had ended the 2009, 2010 and 2011 fiscal years with net losses of $4.3 million, $6 million and $3.5 million, respectively. The Wilmington-based authority ended the 2008 fiscal year with a $1.1 million profit.
The main drivers of the increase were in handling of bulk products, including grain imports at the Port of Wilmington and exports of wood chips from Wilmington and Morehead City. Wood chips are shipped from the two ports to the Mediterranean region, specifically Turkey, where they are used to manufacture boards, Strader said.
The authority handled more than 525,000 tonnes of wood chips at the two ports in the past year.
The Port of Wilmington, meanwhile, saw large increases in grain imports, primarily wheat, which is used in the hog and poultry industries as a replacement for high-priced corn. The facility handled 474,764 tonnes of grain in the 2012 fiscal year, nine times more than the 55,000 tonnes from the year before.
"We saw some of the highest numbers we've seen since the grain facility was constructed here in Wilmington 10 or 11 years ago," Strader said.
The Port of Wilmington saw 150,232 container moves in the latest fiscal year, down from 159,439 the year before, the best year for containers at the Port of Wilmington.
[ ] 2012-07-20