The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) closed a year marked by new carrier services, inland port development & Charleston harbor deepening project.
In results announced at the SCPA's regular meeting, container volume in Charleston was up 9.6 percent in calendar year 2012, with 1.5 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) handled at the port's two container terminals. Volume was up 13 percent in December compared to the same month last year, with 124,120 TEUs traded across the docks. Charleston also was the fastest-growing East Coast container port January through November, the latest month of volume data available from competing ports.
"These results are encouraging and a testament to the professionalism of our staff and the entire maritime community," said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the SCPA.
"However, we have very ambitious goals and a $1.3-billion capital plan to implement in this decade, so we must continue to grow above the market."
Midway through the fiscal year that began July 1, container traffic had grown nearly 12 percent on the strength of loaded exports and the performance of new carrier services that have expanded Charleston's reach to foreign markets, such as Vietnam and Australia.
Newsome also highlighted progress on key initiatives, including the South Carolina Inland Port, which has been met with "incredible interest" from both existing and prospective port users, he stated. He also predicted that the SCPA's ocean carrier customers will continue to emphasize big ship deployments in 2013, and that Charleston is at a distinct advantage given the port's deep shipping channels and role in handling heavier shipments from the export-rich Southeast.
"As we continue the momentum on our next harbor deepening project, I expect further growth from our port in exports, especially as we further develop transloading facilities and our state's intermodal rail network," Newsome added.