In December, Expansion Solutions Magazine provided some solid evidence that our state’s prime connections to overseas markets are in qualified hands when they recognized the North Carolina Ports Authority with one of its “2015 Top Five Awards of Excellence” in port operations. Three port systems in Texas and the Georgia Ports Authority rounded out the list of winners in the publications’ ports category.
With 170 million North American consumers and 65 of the top-100 U.S. metropolitan areas located within 1,000 miles of our borders, North Carolina has long been recognized as a natural logistics hub for ground shipping. But ground logistics are only part of the commerce puzzle for a state operating in a globalized economy. The good news for North Carolina is that our ports system – which supports more than 76,000 jobs statewide, and annually contributes more than $707 million in tax revenue and almost $14 billion in valuable commodities to the state’s economy – is well on its way to full modernization. Moreover, modernization efforts show no signs of slowing down; the long-term transportation measures we helped secure in 2015 included a $70-million investment for port modernization (the first-ever state appropriation awarded to the NC Ports Authority).
However, if we hope to remain an attractive destination state for businesses looking to grow in the Southeast and help companies already located in North Carolina reach their full economic potential, a world-class port system that competes or provides alternatives to other East Coast shipping hubs is needed to complete the commerce puzzle. Clearly, our state has the right leadership overseeing the growth of our ports. In the coming years, it will be up to state leaders and the business community to work together to secure the resources they need to get the job done.
The NC Chamber supports efforts to fully modernize North Carolina’s ports, and we congratulate the North Carolina Ports Authority for earning this prestigious award through their diligent work toward that goal. As we work to further strengthen North Carolina’s infrastructure future in 2016, we will keep you updated on this and other issues impacting our entire transportation network.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber