The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, which last year postponed the bidding process for the design and construction of a new container terminal in the former Philadelphia Navy Yard, is again seeking bids.
The state, together with the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, is seeking proposals from potential terminal developers to design, operate and maintain the terminal, called Southport, Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell announced Wednesday.
“Southport will allow the Port of Philadelphia to capture a greater share of waterborne commerce largely because of its size and access to rail service and major highways,” Rendell said. “In addition, because of the new cargo, Southport represents thousands of good, family sustaining jobs that will have a positive economic impact on the region.”
The announcement said a developer for the Southport project would be selected through a public, competitive selection process administered by the state’s Department of General Services.
Maritime interests in the Port of Philadelphia have given their strong backing to the project for years, because they think it will create thousands of jobs in a city that has been drained of its former industrial base.
The terminal project, which could cost between $2 billion and $3 billion, was supposed to go up for bidding last spring. It was shelved when some of the four bidders that had been qualified by the PRPA got cold feet about raising the necessary financing during the 2008-09 credit crunch.
Bidders also were discouraged by delays in the start of the long-delayed dredging the depth of the Delaware River channel 45 feet from the existing 40 feet for the 102 miles to Philadelphia.
A federal judge in Delaware cleared the way in January for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to start dredging without getting state permits. In addition, the pickup in global container volumes suggests demand for container capacity is picking up.
Environmental groups are still trying to block the dredging in state courts, however.
Wednesday's announcement encouraged interested parties to participate in a May 20 informational webinar on the Southport project.
While the project has been on the back burner, Rendell kept it alive by setting aside $25 million in capital funds last May to fund environmental studies, permitting, land acquisition, geotechnical work, site preparation, utility analysis and site access work.
Contact Peter T. Leach at email@example.com.