By Liz Segrist
Published Sept. 17, 2013
The S.C. State Ports Authority said this morning that, despite rain delays, it still anticipates the S.C. Inland Port to open in mid-October.
Construction continues at the inland port, which will link the Upstate to Charleston’s docks through an overnight rail service. The anticipated Sept. 1 opening was pushed back because of 72 days of rain delays. The ports authority plans to test out its equipment soon.
Construction also continues on BMW’s facility, which is adjacent to the inland port.
“We’re in good shape with this and we’ve received lots of recognition in the marketplace,” Ports Authority CEO and President Jim Newsome said this morning during the authority’s monthly board meeting. “We’re optimistic about the future.”
Future container terminal
The board also heard an update from the S.C. Department of Transportation about the access road to the future container terminal at the former Charleston naval base.
Per the agreement between the DOT and the ports authority, the road must be completed and open before the terminal can open. The access road will be a dedicated road for the port, giving truckers direct access to the terminal and Interstate 26.
The DOT is currently negotiating with local municipalities for right-of-way approvals and is set to finish that portion of the process in mid-2014. Road construction is expected to begin in 2015, for an anticipated 2019 opening.
The road project between the DOT and the ports authority is estimated to cost $282 million.
Thus far, the General Assembly has given the Transportation Department $5 million for the project and $167 million to the ports authority; and the federal government has given $10 million for the project, with the remaining to be funded by the ports authority.
Once completed, the $525 million terminal will boost container capacity in the Port of Charleston by 50%, the board said previously.
2014 year to date
The ports authority also released its fiscal 2014 year-to-date statistics at the meeting. The ports authority handled 4% more pier containers year over year in August.
Operating revenues were up 9.8% at $25.72 million for July and August. Total operating expenses were up 8.9% at $22.29 million. Operating earnings were up 16.2% at $3.43 million in that period.
The ports authority board also unanimously re-elected Chairman Bill Stern, Vice Chairman John Hassell, Treasurer Michael Sisk and Secretary Willie Jeffries.