The SC Ports Authority announced another month of double-digit container growth, with fiscal year-to-date volumes up 13 percent year over year.
The port handled 144,218 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in November, an increase of 8 percent over the same month last year. Fiscal year to date TEU volumes are 11 percent ahead of plan, with 777,566 TEUs handled since July.
As measured in pier containers, SCPA handled 82,466 boxes last month, an increase of 10 percent over November 2013 volumes. Fiscal year to date, pier container volume is up 14 percent year over year.
Non-containerized cargo volumes also saw strong gains in November. Charleston handled 61,114 pier tons last month, bringing fiscal year-to-date tonnage totals ahead of plan by nearly 5 percent. Georgetown handled 48,917 tons in November, pushing tonnage nearly 29 percent higher than fiscal year plans.
The inland port handled 3,972 rail moves in November. With 21,686 lifts completed fiscal year to date, the facility is 47 percent ahead of plan.
"As measured year over year, our monthly pier container volume has seen nine consecutive months of double-digit growth," said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome
. "This broad-based growth reflects strength of both imports and exports, although we will likely see volumes settle over the next few months."
In action items, the board approved $1.56 million in wharf repairs and improvements to the North Charleston Terminal in preparation for the transfer of three Morris cranes from the Wando Welch Terminal. The board also authorized an $189,000 project to expand the perimeter security system at Columbus Street Terminal and passed a resolution to secure foreign trade zone status on three sites in York and Chester counties.
Newsome noted two awards the SCPA received from the Journal of Commerce at last week's Port Performance North America Conference. The Port of Charleston and North Charleston Terminal were recognized for berth productivity for the first half of 2014.
Federal Spending Passage
Passed by Congress earlier this week and signed by the President yesterday, the 2015 fiscal year appropriations bill delivers a positive step forward for the Post-45 Harbor Deepening Project and other key SCPA initiatives.
The bill includes $695,000 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete the Feasibility Study phase and its investigation, as well as a $1.2 million construction allocation that supports the 52-foot project moving forward without delay upon receipt of the Chief's Report, expected in September 2015. The bill also includes $13.1 million for ongoing Charleston Harbor operations and maintenance.
"The Omnibus appropriations to SC Ports Authority projects
are significant, particularly the support of our harbor deepening project, which is our top strategic priority," said Bill Stern, SCPA Board Chairman. "We are grateful for the commitment to ports demonstrated on the federal level, and our state's economy and economic development efforts are strengthened by our competitive port system."
In addition to its allocations for Charleston, the bill contains language pertaining to emerging harbors that could provide opportunities for the Port of Georgetown to compete for maintenance funding to restore its harbor depth.