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Delaware lawmakers send port deal to full General Assembly

Delaware Public Media

The Joint Capital Improvement Committee is endorsing the $580 million deal leasing the Port of Wilmington to private operator Gulftainer.

Delaware lawmakers are expected to take up the contract as early as next week.

Gulftainer would lease the port for 50 years. It would also build a container terminal at the former DuPont Edgemoor site and make other capital improvements.

Gulftainer CEO Peter Richards said the Edgemoor site will use union workers exclusively. But other possible locations the company might redevelop later would be open shops.

“After we heard from the community that they wanted to be given equal opportunities for their non union members to also receive training and we believe we’re big enough and bold enough to take that on as well,” he said.

Gulftainer is exploring other redevelopment areas near the port, including the former General Motors plant site on Boxwood Road near Newport.

Harvey Hanna bought the old GM property last year with a plan to turn to site into industrial and commercial office space.

Secretary of State Jeff Bullock said the agreement could create more than 5,000 new jobs in Wilmington. But many positions will require passing a background check.

Bullock says Delawareans with criminal backgrounds should start seeking a pardon or attempt to get their records expunged.

“There’s already programs available to help people out," he said. "But what I’ve discussed with Rep. Helene Keeley, who also works at the Department of Labor, is putting a little more structure around that.”

The APEX program run by the Labor Department helps people with criminal histories get a pardon or get their records sealed.

The House will act first on a resolution supporting the deal with Gulftainer.

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