Massive Port of Wilmington expansion clears first legislative hurdle

A $580-million proposed expansion of the Port of Wilmington involving a lease arrangement with a company based in the United Arab Emirates has won unanimous support from members of the General Assembly's Bond Bill committee.

The vote Thursday came two weeks after the Diamond State Port Corporation examined the deal as hundreds of union members looked on. At that hearing, the CEO of Gulftainer addressed concerns about security and safety.

Governor John Carney in a statement thanked Bond Bill committee members for agreeing to the transaction.

"The Port has long been one of Delaware's most important employment centers. This expansion agreement will result in significant new investment that will allow the Port to create new jobs and compete over the long term."

Under the deal, Gulftainer's GT USA subsidiary would make annual payments to the state and make major invesments, including a new container facility at the former DuPont Edgemoor facility.

At the hearing earlier this month, Gulftainer CEO Peter Richards said falsehoods were being spread about the company's connections to "dirty money" and possible terrorism. Richards said Gulftainer was already in a position of trust in the United States and serviced the military and the space program.

General Assembly approval is required for the deal to proceed.

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