By Matt Tomsic
Published Oct. 17, 2012
Container volume increased from July through September at the S.C. State Ports Authority, which also announced personnel changes that included a new hire from the Georgia Ports Authority.
The ports authority handled 228,000 containers from July through September, an increase of nearly 12% year over year and 2.3% above planned container volumes, the ports authority announced during its October board meeting.
Operating revenues were $34.6 million, up 5.8% year over year, and operating earnings were $4.4 million, down 0.7% year over year.
The port also docked more ships — 467 versus 430 — during the first quarter of fiscal year 2013.
Ports CEO Jim Newsome said the boost in containers and ships comes partly from new services the ports authority announced during the year.
“The most significant gain was the Australia-New Zealand service,” Newsome said. “We did not have coverage in that market before.”
Newsome also said the ports authority has grown faster than ports in Virginia and Georgia for the first nine months of this calendar year. The ports authority reported growth of 9%, while the Virginia Port Authority logged 8% growth and the Georgia Ports Authority saw 2% growth.
The port continues to expand its cargo base despite the weak economy, Newsome said, focusing on transloaded agricultural products, refrigerated containers and forest products.
Also during its meeting, the ports authority promoted Jack Ellenberg to senior vice president for economic development and projects. Ellenberg’s salary will be $170,000.
Dave Posek, a ports authority board member, said Ellenberg will be responsible for managing the port’s relationships with the S.C. Department of Commerce, regional alliances and large customers throughout the state. He previously worked at the Commerce Department and was involved in the Boeing project.
Newsome said the port also hired a new vice president of carrier sales, John Wheeler, who previously worked at the Georgia Ports Authority.
“From my experience as an ocean carrier, (Wheeler’s) one of the most effective carrier sales executives in the industry,” Newsome said.
The board approved a $572,000 contract to repair deteriorated concrete at the wharf on the Columbus Street Terminal. Palmetto Gunite Construction won the contract, which covers phase one of the repairs.
The board also approved a contract not to exceed $600,000 for maintenance dredging at the Wando Welch Terminal. The terminal’s berth needs to be dredged every nine to 12 months, and the ports authority is in that window. Marinex Construction is available and in the harbor and is dredging for the Army Corps of Engineers. The ports authority and Marinex are negotiating a contract, which will provide the final cost.