WEIRTON - The Weirton Area Port Authority is working to establish domestic and international port-to-port agreements as the growing entity seeks to improve infrastructure and economic development for Weirton and the surrounding areas.
Chairman B.J. DeFelice announced Wednesday that WAPA has the desire to open a port-to-port agreement with San Luis Potosi in Mexico - the second largest inland port in the world. He said WAPA understands the mutual benefits of trade, expanding trade access, enhancing technology transfer and expanding reach into markets an agreement like this would allow.
DeFelice said establishing domestic and international port-to-port agreements will help further objectives thus improving the state's access to trade via strategic partnerships, joint ventures and the encouragement of International Sister City Proclamations.
Chairman B.J. DeFelice discussed some of the local initiatives and milestones being made as the Weirton Area Port Authority, including constructing fuel terminals in order to serve the trucks moving through the Half Moon Industrial Park hauling natural gas. In addition, DeFelice outlined plans to establish a port-to-port agreement with San Luis Potosi, Mexico to expand trade access and enhance technology. -- Angelina Dickson
"The Weirton Area Port Authority and the city of San Luis Potosi have a significant history of open exchange involving the development and promotion of trade, communications and technology transfer initiatives," he said.
According to DeFelice, the State of West Virginia has identified export and import trade as key priorities in both the Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan and the Statewide Strategic Port Master Plan. He said the West Virginia Public Port Authority is charged with proactively planning for future growth of the state's multi-modal system and integration of freight strategies and the Weirton Area Port Authority is preparing to help lead local and international initiatives.
Some of the local initiatives that have helped lay the groundwork for such international agreements, according to DeFelice, include the Weirton Area Port Authority Inc. receiving approval from the Federal Communications Commission to become a facilities-based international communications carrier. He said it will allow WINC to offer communications services for use by its international trading partners.
WINC is also currently undergoing the process with the West Virginia Public Service Commission to become a West Virginia Competitive Local Exchange Carrier in order to offer in-state communications services for use by its trading partners.
WAPA Board members granted permission on Wednesday to Miguel Gomez-Villalobos, WAPA representative and liaison in San Luis Potosi, to present a proclamation outlining initiatives in the agreement to the incoming mayor of San Luis Potosi.
DeFelice said once that takes place, any officer of WAPA is authorized and directed, in the name and on behalf of WAPA, to negotiate and bring before the board for its approval an international port-to-port agreement between San Luis Potosi and WAPA.
(Dickson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)