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Philadelphia Says it’s Ready to Compete with the Big East Coast Ports

Posted on May 3, 2016

By Robert McCabe, The Virginian-Pilot

“Competitors beware.”

So says the Port of Philadelphia in an advertising supplement in a recent issue of The Journal of Commerce.

“Container volumes moving through the Port of Philadelphia are on the rise and projected to continue to climb,” the opening paragraph states.

Truth is, the port handled a fraction of the cargo containers that moved through the Port of Virginia last year, as well as other big East Coast competitors.

Philly has long been known more as a “breakbulk” facility anyway, handling mostly noncontainerized cargo.

Yet officials there say they’re positioned for change.

A dredging project under way since 2010 in the Main Channel of the Delaware River will provide an ocean-to-port route, 45 feet deep, enough water to handle the lion’s share of the worldwide container-vessel fleet, said Joe Menta, a spokesman.

The project, which took 18 years to get on track, is expected to be completed next year. Another facility — the Southport Marine Terminal Complex — is in the works, too.

Like virtually every other port on the East Coast, Philadelphia has kept its eyes — or at least one eye — on the opening of the expanded Panama Canal, now set for late June, and the bigger ships that will be able to transit it.

“We want to get our share of those vessels,” Menta said.

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