State officials are providing alternative habitats.
The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA), a state agency, has purchased, for $1.6 million, the former Jack's Marina in Bristol Borough to create a habitat for fish, birds, and turtles, said Lisa Magee, the authority's special-projects director.
The PRPA is also buying, for $1 million, Marshall Island in the Delaware River near Point Pleasant, Bucks County, and will restrict the 141 acres for birds. In addition, state officials plan to erect signs and other protections in Pennypack Park in Northeast Philadelphia, where eagles have a nest.
Demolition had begun in December, but stopped Jan. 1, the start of the eagles' mating season.
Because the Navy Yard nest appears abandoned, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Pennsylvania Game Commission gave the go-ahead to tear down buildings 1,000 feet away and to monitor for eagles, which were removed from the endangered-species list several years ago.
"We are moving forward. We are working to get a shovel-ready parcel," said Robert Blackburn, the PRPA's senior deputy executive director. Construction of the Southport terminal, which will include two, and possibly three, berths for commercial ships, and eventually, a container yard, is not expected to begin until 2013.
Southport's developer is Delaware River Stevedores Inc., which operates in the ports of Philadelphia, Camden, and Wilmington, and its parent companies, SSA Marine and Ports America Group, which are global marine-terminal operators.
Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., originally a one-third equity partner, has pulled out for now, said Jeff Sprawls, director of marine and terminal operations for Hyundai Merchant Marine in Irving, Texas. "We're going to look at it again, over the next year or so, to see if it might be something we want to get back into."
Sprawls said timing was an issue. The South Korea-based shipping line wanted Southport to progress at a faster pace - not only the terminal development but also the Delaware River channel deepening from 40 feet to 45 feet to accommodate larger ships and commerce.
"And frankly, with the downturn in the economy, it was just better for us to get out of it at that time. The concept is still viable," Sprawls said, "and we would still be interested to look at it again in the future."
Robert Palaima, president of Delaware River Stevedores (DRS), said: "We continue to talk to Hyundai and other carriers. We are working hard to make sure that we don't leave a stone unturned in finding carriers that can see, with us, the advantages of Philadelphia."
Recent announcements of $16.9 million in federal funds this year and $31 million next year to continue the Delaware deepening have created positive momentum, Palaima said.
The port authority is buying eight acres from Norfolk Southern railroad near the river to build a road that will link Delaware Avenue, south of the Walt Whitman Bridge, to the Southport terminal.
DRS, and its parent companies, will invest millions to build Southport, designed to bring jobs and business to the waterfront. They want other terminals in the Philadelphia port to pay rents that are fair and competitive with what the Southport developers will pay.
Those rents are yet to be negotiated.
"One thing that still looms is rationalizing the costs and having a level playing field for all terminal operators in the port," Palaima said.
The deadline is Dec. 31 for a new rental rate to be set at Packer Avenue Marine Terminal, north of the proposed Southport, and operated by Astro Holdings L.L.C. and the Holt family under a long-term lease with the state.
"We agree that all of the terminals should be paying a competitive rate to the PRPA for the use of their facilities," said Charles Kopp, port authority chairman appointed by Gov. Corbett. "We have currently begun negotiations with Astro Holdings to review their annual rental."
Contact staff writer Linda Loyd
at 215-854-2831 or firstname.lastname@example.org.