S.C. State Ports Authority reports 7.4% jump in container volume

Staff Report
Published Aug. 22, 2012

The S.C. State Ports Authority is growing container volume and continuing the positive trend that began last year.

The first six months of the year was marked by the addition of new shipping services, transloading facilities and a rail drayage program. Significant progress was also made on the Charleston Harbor deepening project, as President Obama named the port one of seven priority infrastructure projects for the nation.

Container volume for Charleston grew 7.4% during the first six months of 2012, a faster rate than all other ports in the top 10 by container volume.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, container volume at the Port of Charleston was up 3.5% when measured in 20-foot equivalent units, or TEUs. The port handled 1.43 million TEUs last fiscal year.

“With volumes rebounding, we’ll continue our aggressive business development posture highlighting Charleston’s deep water advantage relative to other ports in the region,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the S.C. State Ports Authority. “We are laser focused on attracting new business, adding shipping services and growing our cargo base, particularly exports that require deep water facilities.”

Break-bulk volumes grew more than 42% over fiscal year 2011 with 1.4 million pier tons recorded at S.C. public port facilities. The Port of Charleston handled 863,471 pier tons of non-containerized cargo, a 21% increase over fiscal year 2011.

Improvements to the Columbus Street Terminal completed last year boosted the ports authority’s break-bulk handling of vehicles, heavy equipment, oversized and overweight, and traditional break-bulk commodities.

Newsome said significant progress was made toward Charleston’s harbor deepening project when the port appeared on the President’s budget for fiscal year 2013. The project got an additional boost when the S.C. General Assembly moved to fully fund the project’s construction phase by setting aside the entire $300 million estimated cost. That allocation cover’s the state’s 60% share, $180 million, and the federal share of deepening Charleston Harbor to 50 feet or greater.

For the first month of the new fiscal year, the Port of Charleston handled 131,767 TEUs, a 16% increase over July 2011.

“We are beginning to see the additional volume from new shipping services in our port, which are performing very well,” Newsome said.

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