Port of Wilmington terminal expansion

State, port operator to build new $635M port terminal in Edgemoor

Betsy PriceBusiness, Headlines

Port of Wilmingtonterminal expansion

The state and operators of the Port of Wilmington will be building a massive new terminal that will bring thousands of new jobs and quadruple the space for container ships.

The state of Delaware and Enstructure, the current private operator of the Port of Wilmington, will build a $635 million new terminal in Edgemoor that will quadruple its capacity for container cargo ships and serve larger ships.

The Edgemoor industrial site was purchased in 2017 by the taxpayer-owned Diamond State Port Corp., which subsequently secured the necessary permits to construct a new port terminal.

The addition will be the largest shipping terminal in Delaware since the current Port of Wilmington opened in 1923 and will create a north and south campus.

Press materials dubbed the expanded site the “Port of Delaware.”

A state-of-the-art “green port,” construction of the Edgemoor terminal will start with site work expected to take about three years.

A state press release said the terminal is expected to create nearly 6,000 new jobs, including more than 3,100 direct jobs. Building the new facility will create more than 3,900 construction jobs and generate $42.3 million in tax revenues.

State and local taxes generated from Edgemoor are estimated at $39.4 million annually.

Once completed and fully operational, the port’s existing and new terminal will generate a total of about 11,480 jobs and $76.2 million in tax revenues for the state, making it one of Delaware’s largest employment centers.

The Port of Wilmington now is a significant source of high-paying jobs to support Delaware families. Many longshoremen earn annual incomes of more than $100,000, with a recent national report estimating the average annual salary of a maritime worker at $98,000.

The announcement comes a week after Gov. John Carney announced he will run for mayor of Wilmington, an unusual move for a man who’s also been a U.S. congressman and lieutenant governor.

This document details the project.

port terminal port of wilmington

This graphic explains how the new terminal to be build in Edgemoor will be financed.

Terminal construction

Construction of the new terminal is expected to take place in three phases, the first to be completed over 32 months.

Much of the early work in the first phase will be focused on waterside construction and will include building a seawall, high deck and associated dredging. 

Landside construction of the terminal will come later with proactive public participation and community engagement.

Phases two and three of the project will be built by Enstructure when business justifies the additional capacity.

The state will pay for about 31% of the cost of building the facility, or $195 million. Those funds will come from excess abandoned property revenues made available in previous state bond bills for specific one-time uses, including maritime terminal development.

Enstructure will pay most of the construction and equipment costs, beginning with $170 million to support Phase 1 of the project and an additional $165 million to complete phases 2 and 3, which equals 53 percent of the entire project.

Remaining costs will come from federal sources and the Diamond State Port Corp.

Carney in the past has said he felt like the powers that be at the Philadelphia port have limited the opportunities for Delaware.

In Wednesday’s press release, he said, “For decades, jobs at the Port of Wilmington have been a gateway into the middle class for thousands of workers and their families— the kind of jobs our state and country were built on.

“This investment to expand the Port will position Delaware to compete for container cargo and larger ships. It will bring new, good-paying union jobs to Wilmington. I am pleased to see strong bipartisan support for this important and necessary next step in making the planned Edgemoor expansion a reality.”

Enstructure Co-CEOs Matthew Satnick and Philippe De Montigny said they were delighted to work with the state, the Port Corporation, the Delaware Building Trades and the International Longshoremen’s Association to expand.

“The Port Delaware Container Terminal will broaden Enstructure’s terminal network and logistics services, while enhancing our ability to serve our customers,” they said.

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Delaware House and Senate Republican leaders hailed the move.

Senate Republican Leader Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View, said, “Investing in modern public infrastructure is a great way to ensure a strong economy for the future. The existing port has created jobs and small business opportunities for over 100 years. This new port will be a critical piece of strengthening Delaware’s economy for the next hundred years.”

House Republican Leader Mike Ramone, R-Newark, said, “Our Port generates thousands of great paying jobs statewide from Delaware River & Bay Pilots in Sussex to longshoremen in Wilmington. Investing in Delaware’s infrastructure is a top priority. 

“This state-of-the-art ‘green port’ terminal will not only result in the productive re-use of a highly visible but vacant industrial site, it also assures future Delawareans have access to maritime careers of the future.”

Bond Bill Chair and Rep. Deb Heffernan, D-Bellefont, said many of her constituents will benefit from this construction directly through jobs or indirectly from the increased economic activity in their communities.

As I have said since this project was first theorized, a project of this size and scale only works with constant and consistent communication with the community,” Heffernan said., “DSPC and Enstructure have made guarantees to hold community meetings, establish a community advisory board made up of local community members, and develop and continually update a website with information on the construction process

“I will be watching to ensure these promises are kept and our community is kept up to date on this project that has the potential to benefit us all.”




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