By Matt Tomsic
Published June 19, 2012
The S.C. State Ports Authority board expects an 8% increase in container traffic and capital budget of $146.9 million for fiscal year 2013, according to its budget, which was approved Monday.
The budget for fiscal year 2013 also pegs operating revenues at $145 million, up from the $132.3 million projected for fiscal year 2012. Operating earnings are set at $16.3 million, an increase of 73% compared to fiscal year 2012 projections. The port will update the board about its fiscal year 2012 performance at the next board meeting in July. June marks the last month of the ports authority’s fiscal year.
Next year, the port expects to handle nearly 900,000 pier containers, up 8%, and 1.5 million pier tons, up 6%.
“Right up front, I would say U.S. trade growth is going to be between 3 and 4%,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the ports authority. “This is clearly a stretch target. We’re recovering lost ground, so we need to grow above the market.”
Board Chairman Bill Stern said the budget is ambitious but realistic.
The ports authority plans to spend nearly $147 million on capital projects, including $36.5 million for the new Navy base terminal and $47.5 million on infrastructure improvements and expansion. The new cruise terminal — estimated to cost roughly $35 million — is included in the infrastructure improvements and expansion portion of the budget. The ports authority is still awaiting permits from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control for the cruise terminal.
Year-to-date financial performance
For fiscal year 2012 so far, the ports authority reported operating revenues of $120.3 million, down 2% compared to plan, but up nearly 6% year-over-year. Total expenses came in at $111.5 million, up 2% compared to plan; and operating revenues were $8.8 million, down nearly 38% compared to plan and 47% year-over-year.
The port handled nearly 753,000 pier containers during this fiscal year, up 2% year-over-year, and 771,000 pier tons, up 18% year-over-year.
In May, the port handled 75,616 pier containers, the highest volume for that month since May 2008.
The board also approved two projects, including a $2.1 million paving project for the North Charleston Terminal and a contract worth $161,000 for electrical work at the North Charleston Terminal. The electrical work is needed for the replacement of four container cranes at the terminal.