Kinder Morgan has suspended negotiations with the state over a plan to operate the Port of Wilmington. In a letter announcing the decision, a company official said an inability to work with a union at the port led to the decision.
Longshoreman’s union chief Julius Cephas was criticized in the first paragraph of the letter from company president John Schlosser as a major reason for the decision. Click on this link for a copy of the letter.
The negotiations had been controversial with opposition coming from legislators, unions and some businesses at the port.
For its part, the state said it could not afford the investments required to keep the port competitive. The extent of investments by Kinder Morgan was also questioned by legislators and others.
The General Assembly earlier passed a bill that provided more legislative oversight over any possible deal. The port has established a solid niche in handling produce from the Americas, but lost Volkswagen years ago as that company began to ramp up production in an effort to gain a bigger share of the U.S. auto market.
The office of Gov. Jack Markell issued the following statement: “This may have been an opportunity for increased jobs as a result of additional capital investment beyond what the state can afford. It is unfortunate that the Port will not be able to capitalize on that potential opportunity at this time.”