Kinder Morgan suspends efforts to assume operation of Wilmington port, cites union hostility

WILMINGTON, Del. – Energy giant Kinder Morgan appears to have lost interest in a public-private partnership to operate the Port of Wilmington.

Houston-based Kinder Morgan informed state officials Thursday that it was suspending efforts to obtain a long-term lease arrangement.

The company thanked Gov. Jack Markell’s administration for its efforts. But the company said leaders of the local longshoreman’s union, which has fought the deal, had become so antagonistic that forging a productive relationship with a future work force would be impossible.

The head of the union, Julius Cephas, has repeatedly criticized Kinder Morgan in comments to the media and legislators. The state Legislature passed a bill giving themselves a say on any privatization deal.

Kinder Morgan operates ports around the country but said the union leadership at the Wilmington port does not make Delaware a good choice.