July cargo volumes deliver strong start to new fiscal year
SC Ports Authority reported 2014 fiscal year-end operating earnings of $14.3 million, 20.7 percent over the organization's financial plan.
From July through June, the SCPA posted operating revenues of $164.1 million, an increase of nearly 17 percent over the previous fiscal year. FY2014 expenses totaled $149.9 million.
"With the Port's aggressive capital plan for the next several years, a solid financial performance is essential," said SCPA Board Chairman Bill Stern. "The strong 2014 fiscal year revenues reported today reflect that the SCPA remains focused on the growth necessary for these important projects."
Last month the SCPA announced 8 percent container growth for the fiscal year, handling 1.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) for an increase of 2 percent over plan. These results follow 9 percent increases the previous fiscal year and continue the SCPA's growth trend of more than double the market average.
"The last quarter of the 2014 fiscal year was the strongest the SCPA has seen in seven years," said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome. "With an 8 percent container volume increase and operating cash flow well above plan, we are well-positioned to continue moving forward with key strategic projects and continued above-market growth."
The SCPA's rail drayage program saw expanded participation by all major shipping lines in FY2014, demonstrating Charleston's capabilities as a rail-competitive port. Rail dray volume increased 136 percent over the previous fiscal year.
FY2014 was also marked by 17 percent growth of the SCPA's refrigerated cargo segment. The Charleston area's cold storage capacity is on the rise, with three cold storage companies recently announcing plans to construct or grow existing facilities to support expansion of this market.
Looking ahead, major initiatives for the SCPA this fiscal year include continued work on harbor deepening, with the draft Environmental Impact Statement scheduled to be released this fall; construction on the Wando Welch Terminal wharf refurbishment project to begin in April 2015; and efforts to restructure container contracts and refine capital planning.
Volumes first month of the new fiscal year were positive, with pier containers up nearly 14 percent over July 2013.
As measured in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), July volumes exceeded plan by 11 percent. The SCPA handled 153,916 TEUs during the month, a 13 percent increase over 138,601 TEUs seen in July 2013. Calendar year to date TEU volume reached 1,026,372 last month, up 11 percent from the same period last year.
July breakbulk cargo volumes also saw increases over 2013 levels. Charleston moved 55,485 pier tons, an increase of 8 percent over last July, and monthly volumes were also up 19 percent in Georgetown, with 71,135 pier tons moved.