By Matt Tomsic
Published April 17, 2012
The S.C. State Ports Authority recorded its highest monthly container volume since October 2008, the authority’s CEO said Tuesday during a monthly board meeting.
CEO Jim Newsome said the port handled 77,000 pier containers in March. The volume is also up 36% compared to the most recent lowest monthly volume, which was recorded in August 2009.
“It is one month,” Newsome said. “I always caution at looking at individual months.”
But, Newsome said, the statistic is a push toward the ports authority’s goal to get container volumes to the levels of fiscal year 2008, when the ports authority logged roughly 972,000 pier containers.
“We’re working hard to increase our volume,” Newsome said.
March’s container volume caps the ports authority’s highest quarter since the recession. From January through March, the port handled roughly 209,000 pier containers.
For the period ending on March 31, the port recorded revenues of nearly $98 million, up 6% compared to the same period in 2011, though earnings were down by 47.8% year-over-year at $7.6 million.
Total expenses increased 16.1% year-over-year to $90.3 million, a figure that is nearly 2% higher compared to fiscal year 2012’s plan.
Pier containers increased by 1% year-over-year, while pier tons increased by 20.4% and cruise passengers increased by 8.2%.
Newsome said the volume increases are due to a new APL service at Wando Welch Terminal, March’s stature as a seasonally strong month, increasing BMW exports and roll-on, roll-off cargo, and a bulk granite account at Veterans Terminal.
Going forward, Newsome said, the port is focusing on new services, cargo development, switching empty containers to loaded containers and financial sustainability, which means growing revenue and controlling costs.