N.C. Ports Authority Milestone

by May 22, 2020Across the Cape Fear, North Brunswick, Wilmington

Following infrastructure improvements, the Port of Wilmington welcomes its largest container ship yet.

North Carolina State Ports Authority celebrated a historic moment on Wednesday, May 20 when the MV Hyundai Hope sailed in to the Port of Wilmington. With a carrying capacity of nearly 14,000 TEUs (22-foot equivalent units), the container ship is one of the largest such ships calling on the ports of the United States East Coast.

“This is a monumental milestone for North Carolina Ports, the Port of Wilmington and the entire state of North Carolina,” said Paul J. Cozza, executive director of North Carolina Ports in a press release. “This has been years in the making and seeing our hard work and dedication come to fruition with the arrival of the MV Hyundai Hope is truly something to celebrate. This would not have been possible without the support of our many partners at the local, state and federal levels as well as funding from the North Carolina General Assembly.”

Under North Carolina Ports’ $200 million capital improvements plan, the Port of Wilmington was enhanced with infrastructure to support the largest vessels calling on East Coast ports.

“Our team and board of directors recognized the importance of infrastructure improvements to support the growing vessels able to reach the United States following the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2016,” said Brian E. Clark, Chief Operating Officer of North Carolina Ports. “Since then, we have been working tirelessly to modernize our facilities in preparation of this historic moment.”

Four major projects were aimed at improving access for 14,000-TEU container ships to the Port of Wilmington. Earlier this year, North Carolina Ports completed phase two of its turning basin expansion project; opened 2,600 contiguous feet of container berth space; and completed an air draft improvement project, which increased the air draft over the Cape Fear River. Additionally, the Ports Authority welcomed three neo-Panamax cranes in 2018 and 2019 specifically designed to work ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs).


The MV Hyundai Hope is operated by HMM in partnership with THE Alliance linking Asia and South America to Wilmington. On April 1, 2020, HMM officially joined THE Alliance, which is made up of three additional ocean carriers: Hapag-Lloyd, Yang Ming and Ocean Network Express (ONE).

North Carolina’s ports in Wilmington and Morehead City and Charlotte Inland Port link the state’s consumers, business and industry to world markets and serve as magnets to attract new business and industry to the State of North Carolina. Port activities contribute to more than 87,700 jobs, $678 million each year in state and local tax revenues, and $15.4 billion annually to the state’s economy.

For more information, go to ncports.com.

Photography by Matt McGraw