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North Sea Port has strong ambitions to develop further as a European port

Governor Henry McMaster celebrated the arrival of the largest container ship to ever call on the East Coast, signifying a big moment for South Carolina and SC Ports. (Photo/SCPA/English Purcell) CHARLESTON, SC — MAY 28, 2021 — Hundreds of people stood on the shoreline snapping pictures as the massive CMA CGM MARCO POLO sailed into Charleston today, setting the record as the largest ship to ever call the U.S. East Coast and the Port of Charleston. South Carolina Ports welcomed the record-breaking CMA CGM MARCO POLO to Wando Welch Terminal. The vessel measures 1,300 feet long and has the capacity to carry 16,022 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent container units). When compared to iconic markers in the Lowcountry, the ship equals 1.5 USS Yorktowns and seven 787-8 Boeing-made Dreamliner jets. Four ship-to-shore cranes with 155 feet of lift height above the wharf deck are deployed on the CMA CGM MARCO POLO, ensuring the swift movement of more than 2,200 containers filled with goods. “The S.C. Ports Authority has made South Carolina proud by transforming Charleston into a world-class port that attracts world-class investment and can now accommodate the largest container ships in the world,” South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said. “We welcome the CMA CGM MARCO POLO and look forward to breaking even more records as our infrastructure continues to improve and our economy continues to grow.” SC Ports has invested $2 billion in port infrastructure in recent years to handle bigger ships and more cargo for customers. Work is ongoing to enhance Wando Welch Terminal, including densifying the terminal, strengthening the berths and investing in new equipment. Wando Welch Terminal will have 15 ship-to-shore cranes with 155 feet of lift height above the wharf deck ready to work container ships later this year. The opening of the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal in March marked the first container terminal to open in the U.S. since 2009. The Leatherman Terminal adds much-needed port capacity and another berth to the U.S. East Coast port market. Additionally, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District is working to deepen Charleston Harbor to 52 feet; the project is progressing well and is fully funded by state and federal dollars. The Charleston Harbor Deepening Project achieved a significant milestone this month by reaching 52 feet in the Wando River in front of Wando Welch Terminal. When the project is fully completed in 2022, Charleston will have the deepest harbor on the East Coast at 52 feet, capable of seamlessly handling fully loaded mega container ships at any time, any tide. These significant projects are occurring while the maritime community and motor carriers provide efficient, fluid operations for customers. “SC Ports has invested in big-ship infrastructure and terminal capacity to handle the boom in retail goods and ensure a fluid supply chain for customers. The arrival of the 16,022-TEU CMA CGM MARCO POLO highlights the importance of our big-ship strategy,” SC Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “This is a big moment for South Carolina. Our whole maritime community is extremely proud of our ability to handle this ship and of the confidence CMA CGM has placed in SC Ports. Congratulations to our partner CMA CGM on this impressive deployment. We are all proud to share in this milestone.” The CMA CGM MARCO POLO is docked at SC Ports’ Wando Welch Terminal. (Photo/SCPA/English Purcell) The CMA CGM MARCO POLO is operated by the CMA CGM Group, a world leader in shipping and logistics. Ed Aldridge, president of CMA CGM America and APL North America, came to SC Ports to celebrate the arrival of the record-breaking vessel in Charleston. The Port of Charleston is the last U.S. port of call for the CMA CGM MARCO POLO before it heads overseas after its historic journey. “The big-ship records we have set this week and the resulting increase in capacity are tangible proof of CMA CGM’s willingness to do whatever it takes to serve our customers,” Aldridge said. “Of course, this would not be possible without the support of our port partners. SC Ports’ recent infrastructure enhancements and the deepening of the Charleston Harbor are the type of investments that enable us to deliver the solutions that keep America moving.” The deployment of the CMA CGM MARCO POLO signifies the company’s commitment to creating agile and flexible solutions to meet the needs of its U.S. customer base as many ports are handling unprecedented cargo volumes from a boom in e-commerce and retail. The CMA CGM MARCO POLO is part of CMA CGM’s Columbus JAX service, traveling between South Asia and the U.S. East Coast. The vessel arrives less than one year after the record-breaking 15,072-TEU CMA CGM BRAZIL, which called on SC Ports last September. “It gives our maritime community great pride to welcome the CMA CGM MARCO POLO to Charleston,” SC Ports COO Barbara Melvin said. “The arrival of this record-breaking vessel highlights the importance of our infrastructure projects, which require great foresight and significant investment to deliver the capacity and capabilities our customers require. Our efforts ensure South Carolina remains a top 10 U.S. container port, in support of South Carolina’s economy.” Charleston celebrated the historic arrival of the CMA CGM MARCO POLO. (Photo/SCPA/English Purcell)

North Sea Port Authority has presented its strategic plan ‘Connect 2025’ to its shareholders. With eight strategic programmes, the cross-border port authority continues to build its position as a European port.

The Dutch-Flemish port authority North Sea Port has been set a clear assignment by its eight public shareholders: to draw up a strategic plan with a 2025 horizon based on the shareholders’ strategy. Central to this are balanced value creation within the framework of economic development and employment, sustainability and climate, and a solid financial foundation.

The port authority is now submitting a plan to the shareholders to put this assignment into practice. The strategy is aimed at developing business premises and infrastructure, nautical services and the role of director in the port area. Relationships with companies, public authorities and the environment are key. And there is a focus on the chemicals, steel, building materials, energy, automotive and trucking, food and feed, and value-added logistics sectors. The port authority aims to deliver the plan through eight strategic programmes.

Daan Schalck, CEO North Sea Port: “As a top ten European port, North Sea Port faces considerable challenges and opportunities in terms of energy transition, the circular economy, climate, the logistics chain, port infrastructure and digitisation. The port authority is addressing those challenges and explicitly wants to be the linking factor, the connector. This strategic plan makes clear choices to achieve that, giving shareholders and local residents confidence in the direction taken by North Sea Port and providing assurance for the large investments made by companies.”

The shareholders will consider the strategic plan until mid-October. The port authority is asking for a clear mandate from the province of Zeeland, the municipalities of Vlissingen, Borsele and Terneuzen as the Dutch shareholders and the city of Ghent, the province of East Flanders and the municipalities of Evergem and Zelzate as the Flemish shareholders. Over the coming months, the port authority will discuss this with the shareholders, after which the plan will be finalised.

Shareholders committed to employment, sustainability and a solid financial foundation

The port authority has been instructed by its shareholders to pursue three tasks such that they remain in balance with one another: economic development and employment, sustainability and climate and a solid financial foundation.

The first task is to create employment within a larger, high-value and future-proof network of companies. It is the companies that create the jobs and invest in sustainability. So it is crucial to attract the right companies to the cross-border region, to keep them there and to enable them to grow. That means looking forwards, innovating and diversifying.

The second task is sustainability and climate: less CO2, more nature, more circularity and efficient use of space. The companies in North Sea Port are sensitive to the pressure to become more sustainable. The port authority wants to differentiate itself by helping them achieve their sustainability goals while also setting a good example.

The third task is to be financially healthy. The shareholders do not participate in North Sea Port to make money. North Sea Port therefore does not have a dividend target, but instead seeks a financial result that will allow it remain financially healthy.

The strategic plan: three core tasks, customer focus, seven sectors and eight programmes

In order to fulfil the brief it has been handed by its shareholders, the port authority will perform three core tasks, put the customer first, focus on seven priority sectors and roll out eight programmes to achieve the plan.

Daan Schalck, CEO North Sea Port: “With targeted choices, support and ambitious goals, we want to play a connecting role in order to achieve concrete results with social added value by 2025. We are providing 150 hectares for the circular economy, further increasing the reuse of CO2, continuing to grow as Western Europe’s leading hydrogen cluster, working to enhance electrification, increasing the sustainability of the logistics chain, building infrastructure in consultation with businesses and public authorities, and boosting digitisation.”

  • Providing space and infrastructure, nautical services and connection

Over the next five years, the port authority will continue to perform its three core tasks. The provision of available business premises and port infrastructure is the first. The port authority also provides nautical services such as shipping assistance. A third – special – task is that of ‘conductor’, bringing everything together in the port area. Expanding and further fleshing out this role is the connecting thread in the strategic plan and one of the eight programmes for delivering it.

  • Customer orientation and focus on seven sectors

The Port Authority wants to set itself apart in terms of customer partnership. This is a different approach to that of most seaports, which aim to deliver the lowest possible cost for the customer or to be the leader in a particular market segment. Through this customer partnership, the port authority wants to play a connecting role, establishing a relationship of trust and looking towards the future.

In doing so, it aims to meet the specific needs of the companies and offer them customised services. This is why the port authority is seeking growth in seven priority sectors: chemicals, steel, building materials, energy, automotive and trucking, food and feed, and value-added logistics.

The way in which the port authority aims to interact with local residents and those living in the wider region also fits within the philosophy of customer partnership: maintaining contact, with an awareness of each other’s interests and seeking consensus. Customer partnership also means building powerful alliances in which each partner does what it does best.

  • Eight programmes to deliver the strategic plan

With the following eight strategic programmes, North Sea Port continues to build its position as a European port.

  • Investing in circular value chains
  • Investing in energy projects
  • Investing in climate
  • Strong logistics chains
  • Future-proof infrastructure
  • Data community
  • Together with society
  • Connecting cooperating parties
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