Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has visited the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority's Tioga Marine Terminal to officially welcome the cargoes of Fibria Celulose, a major Brazilian pulp and paper company, to the Port of Philadelphia.
Speaking from the dais to commemorate the fruition of the process to bring Fibria's cargoes to the Port of Philadelphia were Governor Corbett; Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) Chairman Charles G. Kopp; Delaware River Stevedores (DRS) President Robert Palaima; International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) President and PRPA Board Member Boise Butler III; Colin Bilton of Fibria; John Kemmerley of the Pilots Association for the Bay & River Delaware and key member of the region's Maritime Advisory Committee; Paul Jackson, Honorary Consul of Brazil; and the Reverend Peter Stube of the Seamen's Church Institute, who began the proceedings with introspection and prayer to mark the happy occasion for so many workers at the Port.
"We in government are proud to be part of the process that brought this great new business to the Port of Philadelphia," said Governor Corbett to his colleagues on the dais and to the many maritime industry employees, representing both labor and management, in the audience. "But it is all of you who truly deserve the applause, for working together to make this day happen."
Governor Corbett's thoughts were echoed by the ILA's Boise Butler and Fibria's Colin Bilton, both of whom drew attention to the extraordinary level of cooperation among members of the Philadelphia maritime community to assure Fibria's decision to move its cargoes through the Port of Philadelphia.
Fibria's primary cargo at the Port will be processed wood pulp sourced from Eucalyptus trees, a product used to manufacture a full range of personal hygiene and household products, including paper towels and facial tissue. Specially modified forklifts, allowing for fast, damage-free transfer, will move the cargo from berthside to Tioga's on-dock warehouse, once shipboard cranes discharge the cargo from the vessel.
Fibria selected the Port of Philadelphia in December 2013 after many meetings with Governor Corbett's office; the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA); Delaware River Stevedores (DRS), the operator of PRPA's Tioga Marine Terminal; International Longshoremen's Association Local 1291; and other port interests involved in the region's logistics chain. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Port of Philadelphia officials first met with Fibria in April 2013, during Governor Corbett's "Jobs first" trade mission to South America. From the outset, Governor Corbett's administration expressed its willingness to make the necessary capital improvements to Tioga Terminal, as well as provide other economic incentives, to make Fibria's move here possible.
The arrival of Fibria's cargoes will bring a 52-weeks-per-year business to the Tioga Marine Terminal, PRPA's northernmost facility located in the city's Port Richmond section, and will comprise 18 to 20 ship calls per year and five to six days per week of activity at the terminal. Initial business is projected to amount to 30,000 metric tons per month, resulting in about 360,000 tons annually. Projections indicate that 500,000 tons per year can be attained in the near future.
455 direct and indirect jobs, 228 of these direct jobs, will be created here by this new business. Fibria's activity will also generate $1.74 million in state and local taxes per year, as well as $6.09 million in federal taxes.
Manufacturers of paper towels, tissues, and other household paper products will be among the many end users of Fibria's cargoes, which will travel via rail and truck to their final destinations once they arrive at Tioga Terminal. Current upgrades to the Port Richmond Track and Rail Corridor, in part justified by new business such as Fibria's, will facilitate the inland movement of Fibria's cargoes once they arrive here.
There will be another benefit of Fibria's new business here: due to the frequent arrival of vessels carrying Fibria's wood pulp, there will be regular opportunities for backhaul cargoes, which will permit Pennsylvania manufacturers to more easily export their products to Brazilian markets.
The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) is an independent agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania charged with the management, maintenance, marketing, and promotion of publicly-owned port facilities along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, as well as strategic planning throughout the port district. PRPA works with its terminal operators to modernize, expand, and improve its facilities, and to market those facilities to prospective port users. Port cargoes and the activities they generate are responsible for thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the Philadelphia area and throughout Pennsylvania.