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Salisbury, Maryland gets action plan for Wicomico River port development

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CPCS study identifies potential demand for a new publicly-owned multi user port that could support Salisbury’s economy and improve its marine transportation system.  


The city of Salisbury, Maryland is seeking opportunities to leverage its access to the Wicomico River to support economic growth. The community has six privately owned maritime terminals or facilities, which are important supply chain links for fuel, aggregate and agricultural products. Being privately owned and operated, the cargo that these terminals handle is dedicated to their respective firms.

Given the cost benefits of maritime shipping for bulk cargo and economic benefits of more shipping options for businesses, the city hired CPCS, alongside Century Engineering, to study the value of public owned multi-use ports.


CPCS used economic data and consultations with business and government stakeholders to develop four recommendations for the City of Salisbury:

  • Adopt a policy that defines the City’s role in supporting the maritime system
  • Create a port administration or authority organization to guide development and coordinate funding
  • Develop a port administration to manage the infrastructure and coordinate between users
  • Secure grant support and private agreements to support construction of cargo handling and access road improvements at a proposed site on the Wicomico River


“Compared to large metropolitan areas, engagement in port development can be difficult for many small and mid-sized communities, as they have limited knowledge of marine transportation and limited resources to support development,” says Eric Oberhart, transportation expert at CPCS. “We created simple and actionable recommendations that Salisbury’s government and business stakeholders can use to encourage port development.”

The city of Salisbury is now investigating partnership recommendations.

Other potential impacts include an increase in tonnage handled per year, employment growth, increased land values and lower shipping costs for local businesses to import and export goods.

The city of Salisbury published the study in 2021.