Port of Philadelphia Moves in Right Direction
The Port of Philadelphia has reported a 16 percent in cargo in 2014, marking the fifth consecutive year of double-digit cargo growth along the city’s Delaware River waterfront.
Final cargo figures for 2014, compiled by the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA), reveal that 5,950,319 metric tons of cargo were handed at the Port of Philadelphia’s maritime facilities in 2014.
The cargo increases of 2014 and recent years are occurring amid an unprecedented period of expansion and investment.
In addition, a $350 million project to deepen the Delaware River’s main channel from 40 to 45 feet is close to 70 percent complete, with the latest rounds of bids to deepen the remaining areas or “reaches” of the river are now being evaluated for an anticipated spring 2015 resumption of the project.
Dredging the main channel will allow the Delaware River ports to accommodate today’s larger ships, reduce the cost of moving cargo through the ports, and enhance their competitiveness among other regional ports.
The deepening project, funded by the federal government with local matching funds, is on track for completion in 2017, about the time a deeper and wider Panama Canal will begin serving the world’s ocean carriers.
Further, the PRPA Board of Directors is now evaluating 16 private-sector respondents for its Southport Project, the first major expansion of the Port of Philadelphia in several generations. The three major parcels encompassing Southport are being offered by PRPA for a variety of potential maritime and energy uses.
The healthy level of responses to the Port’s October 2014 request for expressions of interest bodes well for this ambitious project to significantly boost the level of economic activity at the Port of Philadelphia.