States cry foul over provisions in bill that would aid proposed container port

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Good afternoon,

Members of Congress from New Jersey and Pennsylvania are not happy about a bill co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tom Carper that would aid the Port of Wilmington’s expansion.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the transportation bill contains provisions that would ease the way for a container port facility at the former DuPont Edgemoor site.

Gultainer, a private company based in the United Arab Emirates, operates the Port of Wilmington under a long-term lease deal with the State of Delaware.

The Philadelphia Inqurier reports that the two states are upset with provisions that among other things would streamline permitting.

Pennsylvania has reason to be annoyed.The commonwealth kicked in funds for the deepening of Delaware River Channel, while Delaware opposed the project.

It turned out that the deepening made the Edgemoor site more competitive without Delaware helping to pay the bill.

If built, the new Delaware port would end up with a competitive advantage since container ship owners would be able to shorten voyages that would otherwise end at Philadelphia.

Members of Congress from Pennsylvania and New Jersey have sent a letter to the House committee handling the bill that outlines their opposition.

The dispute illustrates the dog eat dog nature of the port business along the Delaware River.

Years back, the Port of Wilmington could have lost much of its lucrative fruit market when new facilities were built along the river in New Jersey and an aggressive bid was made for that business.

The State of Delaware later opted to lease the site to Gulftainer after determining that improvements that would keep the port competitive required a far greater investment than the state could afford.

Delaware and Gulftainer are pushing for the container port as a way to bring hundreds of precious blue collar jobs to the state. Gulftainer plans to invest more than half a billion dollars in port facilities.

Gulftainer has already invested in new equipment at the Port of Wilmington and has set up a trucking operation aimed at luring shippers that need a way to get their goods to their final destination.

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