Ports authority approves FY 2015 budget

By Liz Segrist
lsegrist@scbiznews.com
Published June 19, 2014

The S.C. State Ports Authority’s 2015 fiscal year budget includes across-the-board increases in cargo volumes, operating revenues and capital investments.

The ports authority board approved the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 during its monthly board meeting on Wednesday. The board approved capital investments of $113.5 million for the fiscal year.

The ports authority board approved the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 during its monthly board meeting on Wednesday. The board approved capital investments of $113.5 million for the fiscal year. (Photo/File)

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“I’m confident our volumes will continue to grow above the market average,” President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “Revenues will also increase thanks to strength across all cargo segments and success at the Inland Port.”

Capital investment funds will be used for improvements to existing terminals and infrastructure to accommodate larger ships, as well as approximately $20 million in Navy Base Terminal construction costs.

Fill activities continue at the Navy Base Terminal, with construction on track to coincide with completion of the Charleston Harbor deepening project, projected for 2018.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, is on track to release its Draft Environmental Impact Statement this summer; the Chief’s Report is on track for September 2015.

The budget also calls for 975,000 pier container moves in fiscal 2015, a 3.4% increase in pier container volume over estimated fiscal 2014 totals.

In noncontainerized cargo business segments, the plan includes break-bulk tonnage increases of 9.8% in Charleston and 0.5% in Georgetown, driven largely by strong performance by state manufacturers, according to port officials.

Volume across all business segments continued to grow through the 2014 fiscal year, giving us the confidence to approve this aggressive plan,” Board Chairman Bill Stern said in a statement.

The ports authority’s A+ credit rating was recently affirmed by a report from Standard and Poor’s. Operating revenues are expected to reach $172.8 million in fiscal 2015, up $13.2 million from projected fiscal 2014 totals.

Also during the meeting, the board approved a $1.08 million contract to prepare Inland Port gate facilities infrastructure for the implementation of an upgraded terminal operating system. Construction is scheduled to begin at the logistics hub in Greer in July and will be completed later in the fall.

Reach staff writer Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119 or @lizsegrist on Twitter.

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