Government officials announced a $50 million Port Infrastructure Development Program grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to Diamond State Port Corporation for the Port of Wilmington’s Edgemoor terminal expansion.
The funding comes after Diamond State changed port operators from GT USA, a company based in the United Arab Emirates to Entstructure, a U.S. company. GT had a rocky tenure at the port, with lawsuits, claims of unpaid bills, late lease payments, and other issues. GT also struggled with the impact of Covid-19 shutdowns.
The PIDP is a discretionary grant program funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and administered by the U.S. Maritime Administration. Funds are awarded on a competitive basis to projects that improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of the movement of goods into, out of, around, or within a port.
The funding won’t receive a warm response upriver, with members of Congress from New Jersey and Pennsylvania claiming that the Edgemoor port is getting preferential treatment when compared to existing ports.
The Delaware container port could cut costs for ship owners who would not have to go as far upriver. The Edgemoor site also has rail access.
The Edgemoor terminal expansion project plan includes constructing a container yard featuring all-electric operations and a new truck gate to provide new cargo capacity, enhance cargo resiliency, reduce emissions, improve safety, and provide capacity at the existing Port of Wilmington. The expansion project is on the former location of the DuPont-Chemours titanium dioxide production facility, which was demolished and sold to the Diamond State Port Corporation in 2017.
Last year, the state’s Congressional Delegation helped secure $9.2 million for operations and maintenance work, including a new management plan to support the port’s expansion to the Edgemoor terminal.
“This federal grant for port expansion is great news for our maritime economy and thousands of Delaware families,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock, who also serves as chairman of the Diamond State Port Corporation. “This money will help Delaware finance the construction of a new terminal, which will create more high-quality, good-paying union jobs and protect existing jobs while investing in infrastructure that is part of a green economy. We are especially grateful to the Biden Administration and our congressional delegation for their support. The Port of Wilmington is a vital economic engine for Delaware, and this federal support will help make it stronger in the future. We will work with the Edgemoor community, the port operator, Enstructure, and our partners in organized labor to make sure we succeed.”
“Speaking for the over 43,000 AFL-CIO members and its construction sector, which is comprised of 24 unions with over 5,000 well-trained men and women, along with over 600 International LongShoreman (ILA) men and women, this is putting Delaware on the map as a shipping receiver and sender in the region,” said Jim Maravelias, president of the Delaware State AFL-CIO. “The expansion will create well-paying jobs for generations to come, and this monetary boost is exactly what Delaware needs at this moment in time.”
“On behalf of all the Delaware unions, I would like to thank President Biden, the federal and state delegation, for the grant to support our ongoing efforts to fund the Edgemoor project while creating sustainable jobs,” said William B. Ashe, Jr. ILA Executive Council and president of ILA Local 1694.
“This investment from the U.S. Department of Transportation further illustrates the deep commitment Senator Carper, Senator Coons, and Representative Blunt Rochester have to Delaware’s critical maritime infrastructure. As Port Wilmington’s operator, we are excited to continue working with the State of Delaware, Governor Carney, the Diamond State Port Corporation, the Delaware Building Trades, the International Longshoremen’s Association, and local communities to bring the Edgemoor development to life,” said Matthew Satnick and Philippe De Montigny, co-CEOs of Enstructure.