view current print edition




Delaware River getting triple-digit growth of imports from some countries

Pennsylvania has announced a commitment of $300 million dedicated to upgrading Philadelphia’s seaport facilities. A massive $200 million will be invested in the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal.

This terminal (PAMT) is on a 55-year lease concession to Greenwich Terminals LLC. Greenwich Terminals is a separately managed affiliate of Holt Logistics Corp.

The newly branded PhilaPort represents the commonwealth’s port asset collection and Greenwich Terminals is working to plan maximization of the vast PAMT improvements.

Eric-Leo-TomLeo Holt, flanked by his nephews Eric Holt and Tom Holt III at the Gloucester City, NJ, office of Holt Logistics Corp.Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced the state’s allocation on Nov. 22, 2016. The initiative doubles the container capacity of the port, according to PhilaPort.

Leo Holt, president of Holt Logistics Corp., said Pennsylvania’s PhilaPort investment “will go beyond the docks to involve upgrades in food grade infrastructure for distributing chilled, frozen and dried foods.”

The first and most visible investment is around the corner. By November PAMT will have in place two new super-post-Panamax cranes to maximize sea container movement.

“The entire suite of Packer Avenue Terminal cranes is being ‘electrified,’” Holt said, to reduce diesel emissions from older diesel equipment. PAMT currently has 2,400 reefer plugs, including installed and flexible modern generator powered plugs. These plugs will number 3,000 when the PAMT upgrades are complete.

Holt noted that the PAMT project will take in the range of 18 months to 30 months.

This container port picked up important new business late last year, with a switch to this facility by Fyffes plc. Holt said Fyffes’ move marked completion of the global fruit company’s move toward containerization.

Previously Fyffes, which several years ago purchased Turbana’s break bulk banana and tropical fruit operation, had continued receiving those refrigerated cargo ships at Philadelphia’s Pier 82. Now, with Fyffes’ containerization, all of that fruit is best suited for Packer Avenue.

Holt said that “SeaLand captured Fyffes’ container business with a strong offer and that Pier 82 will work to remain relevant as a service provider to Packer customers.” In addition to SeaLand, Holt credited MSC and other shipping for “offering a very solid service package” to serve Fyffes’ Packer Avenue service.

Holt continued, “Fyffes’ tropical fruits are among the food imports that will be served by new PhilaPort warehousing that is being constructed adjacent to the Packer Avenue Terminal. It marks a renaissance” at the site of the one-time Philadelphia Regional Produce Market, “which is going to see a new warehouse facility designed to include domestic products and a variety of services for produce in containers.”

This warehousing “gives the opportunity to create a more modern infrastructure,” Holt said. Among the countries increasing their containerized exports to the Delaware River are Peru, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Spain, Morocco, South Africa, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. The percentage of annual growth from these countries is increasing by “double digits, or triple digits in some cases,” he noted.


Holt Logistics Corp. has worked with the state of New Jersey to develop a new port facility in Paulsboro, NJ, which is downstream from Gloucester City. To manage the Paulsboro port, Holt Logistics has a contract running well into this century.

Holt indicated that the first stages of the new Paulsboro facility were completed in March 2017. Since that time, 1 million tons of product have passed through Paulsboro.

He credited New Jersey authorities for their aggressive spirit and understanding the importance of the new port.

Paulsboro phase two planning is under way. Holt said that two large commercial cold warehouses — belonging to Seald Sweet LLC and Agro Merchants Group — are “in the backyard” of the Paulsboro and should play key roles in Paulsboro’s refrigerated trade in years to come.