Legislature Approves Deal to Invest $580 Million in Port of Wilmington, Create Thousands of Jobs

DOVER – The General Assembly approved an agreement Tuesday that paves the way for the largest independent port operator in the world to invest more than $500 million in Delaware’s Port of Wilmington, which in turn could create thousands of jobs in the First State.

Last month, Governor John Carney announced that the State of Delaware has reached a preliminary agreement with the Gulftainer Group to lease the Port of Wilmington from the State, construct a new container shipping facility on the Delaware River, and significantly expand jobs at the port during the next decade.

The Gulftainer Group is the largest independent, privately-owned port operator in the world. The company currently operates 15 ports and logistics facilities across four continents, including North America. Gulftainer has operated the Port of Canaveral, Fla. for nearly four years, establishing the Canaveral Cargo Terminal as a significant new port gateway.

Sponsored by Joint Bond Bill Committee chairs Rep. Quinn Johnson and Sen. David Sokola, House Concurrent Resolution 76 passed both chambers Tuesday, signifying the legislature’s support of the final agreement.

Under terms of the agreement, Gulftainer’s subsidiary GT USA would agree to invest more than $580 million in the port over the next nine years, including approximately $410 million for a new container facility at DuPont’s former Edgemoor site, which was acquired by the Diamond State Port Corporation in 2016.

“The Port of Wilmington is perhaps Delaware’s greatest asset, but it requires constant investment to keep it a vital, world-class port. The state has allocated funds regularly, but a bigger, more sustainable infrastructure investment is necessary for the port to thrive for decades,” said Rep. Johnson, D-Middletown.

“This deal will provide that funding – more than a half-billion dollars – to ensure the port’s future and convert a brownfield in Edgemoor into an integral part of port operations. This has the potential to create thousands of good-paying jobs and careers for Delawareans. On top of that, the state will retain ownership of its asset. This will have a huge, positive impact for years to come.”

GT USA would also make annual royalty payments to the state reaching an estimated $13 million during the next decade. The company also would establish a training facility at the Edgemoor site for jobs in the ports and logistics industries, with a goal of training 1,000 aspiring workers each year for high-quality jobs in Wilmington and beyond.

“The Port of Wilmington is one of the most important engines of Delaware’s economy and middle class,” said Sen. Sokola, a member of the DSPC Board of Directors. “I’m impressed with the agreement that the State has reached with Gulftainer. This is a good deal for Delaware, and a major step forward for the sustained vitality at the Port of Wilmington, for Delaware’s job market, and for economic growth in our region. I’m hopeful that this will also prove to be a good omen for other economic cornerstones in the region – including the former GM site on Boxwood Road – but this investment is unconditionally good news for Delaware and I’m glad to support it.”

GT USA also would guarantee that the number of jobs held at the port by members of the International Longshoremen’s Association would not fall below current levels.