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November 22, 2016

Port of Philadelphia doubling capacity with $300 million capital investment

Development Trade
010315_PHLport Joseph Kaczmarek/AP

Tug boats guide a cargo ship up the Delaware River, Friday, Feb. 24, 2006, near the Tioga Marine Terminal in Philadelphia. Workers at the Tioga Marine Terminal say the stresses of day-to-day operations are of far greater importance to them than the swirling national controversy over a United Arab Emirates-based group's plans to buy a stake in their company. Their operation, they say, is virtually self-contained and business shouldn't be affected either way.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced on Tuesday that the state will invest more than $300 million to double the container capacity of the Port of Philadelphia and create new jobs over the next four years.

Supported by the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, the initiative will focus on the port's infrastructure, warehousing and equipment needs. Its objectives are to boost efficiency, increase tax revenues and expand employment opportunities.

“This capital investment program will give the Port of Philadelphia the tools it needs to improve its competitive position and create thousands of family-sustaining, middle class jobs while increasing state revenues,” said Governor Wolf. “With its major economic impacts throughout the state, my administration understands the value of Pennsylvania’s port asset in Philadelphia.”

Target areas for investment include the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal, the Port’s automobile-handling operation and the Tioga Marine Terminal. About $200 million will go to the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal, which will receive four new electric post-Panamax container cranes and a deeper 45-foot depth at the terminal’s marginal berths. A relocated warehouse will also create space for container growth and construction.

Another $90 million for the Automobile Import/Export facility will expand capacity at a site that already employs 300 people and annually processes about 150,000 cars for distribution throughout the region.

Tioga Marine Terminal will receive $12 million for improvements to its main on-dock warehouse that processes Brazilian wood pulp, while a second facility will be converted into a food-grade warehouse.

Tuesday's announcement drew praise from local enviromental advocates who have opposed the addition of new fossil fuel projects at the Southport Marine Terminal Complex.

“The people of Philadelphia, led by Green Justice Philly in alliance with labor, spoke loud and clear to the Philadelphia Port Authority and Governor Wolf that we do not want and cannot tolerate fossil fuel expansion at Southport," said Tracy Carluccio of Green Justice Philly. "Our voices were heard and the outcome will benefit the City, its residents and its workforce by providing jobs that support a green economy rather than dirty fossil fuel development and the harm it inflicts on our community’s health and the environment."

At the conclusion of the four-year investment plan, future projections by state and local officials include a 70 percent increase in direct jobs, from 3,124 to 5,378, and a 65 percent increase in total employment from 10,341 to 17,020 positions.

Construction on the Capital Investment Plan's various projects is expected to begin in early 2017.