Greg Fennell, the chief commercial officer of the North Carolina Ports Authority, has announced his retirement effective January 2020 after five years in the role covering terminals in Wilmington and Morehead City.
Hans Bean, who joined the port in 2016 as a senior vice president, will be promoted to succeed Fennell.
“Greg has played an integral role in our success over the past five years. His knowledge and expertise of the industry has helped lead North Carolina Ports to record-breaking revenue years and container and general cargo volumes at both the Port of Wilmington and the Port of Morehead City,” Paul Cozza, executive director of the North Carolina Ports Authority, said in a statement.
During Fennell’s tenure, the North Carolina Ports Authority has expanded its refrigerated cargo business through the Southeast In-Transit Cold Treatment program, which allows temperature-controlled goods that once were reserved for colder areas — such as the ports of Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey, and Boston — to now discharge in the Southeast. The US Department of Agriculture spearheaded the program. Wilmington, in addition to other Southeastern ports, was able to successfully pass a pilot program and now can chase this new line of agricultural and grocery business.
Fennell helped return intermodal service to Wilmington in July 2017 for the first time in 30 years. The Queen City Express connects Wilmington with an inland rail hub in Charlotte. CSX expanded the service to daily overnight double-stack trains to Charlotte this summer, providing Wilmington an advantage of the two-day service from Charleston. The dray is about 200 miles, which would take up most of a driver’s on-duty hours for a round trip.
Six weekly container services call at Wilmington, including Zim Integrated Shipping Services’ Container Service Pacific (ZCP) and THE Alliance’s East Coast 2 (EC2) service. Other services operated by Crowley Maritime and Independent Container Line connect the port to Central America and Europe, respectively.
It has been a slow process to regain the volume after the ocean carrier delivering the largest share to the Port of Wilmington, Hanjin Shipping Co., declared bankruptcy in August 2016.
Bean takes the helm at a critical time
Before joining the North Carolina Ports Authority, Bean was with APM Terminals and Maersk in various roles.
“Hans is an industry veteran and has proven himself a valuable asset to our team. In this role, he will be able to continue moving us forward by growing business at NC Ports’ terminals and improving our position as an important global gateway,” Cozza said.
Bean takes over at a time when the port is focused on securing federal funds to dredge its inner harbor from 42 to 47 feet. Savannah and Jacksonville are already on their way to that depth with ongoing projects, while Charleston is going to 52 feet and Virginia hopes to deepen to 55 feet. New York and New Jersey, Miami, and Baltimore are already at 50 feet.
The North Carolina Ports Authority still needs to have the dredging project included in the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 and then receive funding from the Army Corps of Engineers.