Diamond State Port Corporation and Chemours Company jointly announced an agreement for the Port of Wilmington to purchase the former Chemours Edgemoor site on Hay Road, north of the current port.
Price is $10 million, with the transaction expected to close next year.
“I’m excited by the potential for the port to use this site to better connect Delaware with the rest of the nation and the globaleconomy”said Gov. Jack Markell.
“Today’s announcement is great news for Delaware’s economy.The Port of Wilmington has been a source of good-paying,middle-classjobs for thousands of Delawareans and their families,” saidCong. andGov. ElectJohn Carney. “But, the current port is near capacity, and with larger ships coming up the East Coast, we need this space to compete for their business.This agreement is a step toward strengthening the Port of Wilmington and creatingmorejobs for Delaware workers. I’m looking forward to building on this momentum and continuing to expand operations at the port.”
The Edgemoor site is on the Delaware River and could accommodate larger ships. By contrast, most of the Port of Wilmington is at the end of the Christina River as it runs into the Delaware and less able to handle increasingly large ships that are now able to travel through the expanded Panama Canal.
The state will face challenges in developing port facilities without private backing, due to a looming budget deficit that is expected to cut into bond bill spending. An earlier effort to privatize the port was doomed by union opposition and uneasiness by current tenants at the port.
Chemours announced the closing of the 114-acre Edgemoor manufacturing operation inAugust,2015 with the promise that the property would be returned to the benefit of the community and state. This year, Chemours agreed to keep its headquarters in Delaware after looking at other locations.
“Chemours is committed to the redevelopment of our former industrial sites, and we are very excited to see DSPC move forward to create new opportunities for growth and employment at this site,” saidMark Vergnano, CEO of Chemours.
“Today is a great day for our entire port community,” saidWilliam Ashe Jr., vice president of the International Longshoremen’sAssociation.“The purchase of this property will provide the additional space required to support our existing customers and allow for increased work for our membership.”.
“The purchase of the Edgemoor property by the Port of Wilmington from Chemours is an investment that is critical to growing our region’s economy,” said Carper, who was governor when the port was purchased by the state. “Making investments in transportation and infrastructure like this one create a nurturing environment for job and economic growth, which Delaware needs to remain competitive going forward.”
“The focus of securing tens of millions of dollars for the Delaware River deepening project was to create opportunities just like this one,” said Coons. “This is outstanding news for Delaware primarily because of the creation of well-paying jobs and subsequent strengthening and expansion of the middle class. I am also grateful to the good faith negotiations on the part of Chemours, the Diamond State Port Corporation, and the state of Delaware.”
This spring the port released a strategic plan that concluded that expansion is vital to the port’s long-term survival. It also detailed the taxpayer cost of maintaining the current facility at $300 million over the next 20 years to maintain existing businesses and their anticipated growth. The plan provided several scenarios for long-termgrowth including the development of the Chemours site at Edgemoor.
“While this purchase does not guarantee that a new port facility will be built at Edgemoor, it does give us a valuable option to market to potential investors,” saidSecretary of State Jeffrey Bullock, the chairman Diamond State Port Corp.“The Edgemoor site will be marketed with Riveredge, located south of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, as DSPC’s two primary options for expansion. We are hopeful, of course, that in time both will be developed.”
The Riveredge site had been championed by County Executive Tom Gordon and the Longshoremen’s union as a way to bring thousands of jobs to the area. Delaware does benefit from the two sites being further down the river than Philadelphia. However,
Delaware does benefit from the two sites being further down the river than Philadelphia. However, competition is intense, and there are no guarantees the state can land more business.The Port of Wilmington did bolster its position in fighting Paulsboro, NJo in keeping its banana and produce business.
The Port of Wilmington accounts for 5,900 regional jobs annually generating $436 million in annual business revenue, $409 million in personal income for the state and region and $41 million in regional annual tax revenue. The port is owned and operated by the Diamond State Port Corporation, a corporation of the State of Delaware.