On the heels of announcing its five-year growth, investment and cargo base expansion plans at the State of the Port, South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) reported a four percent increase in August container volumes over the same month last year.
SCPA said it handled 170,528 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in August. With 345,751 TEUs moved during the first two months of the 2016 fiscal year, container volume is up 8.8 percent year-over-year.
As measured in pier containers, nearly 97,000 boxes moved across SCPA docks in August. Fiscal year-to-date pier container volume is up 8.1 percent, with 195,703 boxes handled during the last two months.
"August was a strong month across all business segments," said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. "This broad-based growth is indicative of the modest, sustained volume increases we're expecting as the 2016 fiscal year progresses. I continue to believe that Southeastern ports will see relatively strong growth compared to the overall U.S. market."
Non-containerized cargo volumes also increased in August. Charleston moved 73,288 pier tons during the month, and fiscal year-to-date volumes are nearly 39 percent higher than plan. Georgetown handled 8,471 pier tons in August, pushing SCPA's total fiscal year-to-date breakbulk volumes to 81,758 pier tons, 19.2 percent ahead of plan.
The Inland Port also saw a strong month, handling 7,322 rail moves in August. With 14,889 total rail moves handled fiscal year to date, the facility's strong volumes are 52 percent higher than plan.
In action items, the SCPA board approved the purchase of electrical equipment in preparation for the installation of additional refrigerated container racks at the Wando Terminal, and authorized the replacement of control systems and drives for 19 SCPA rubber-tired gantry cranes. A contract to S&ME, Inc. was also approved as part of the Wando Wharf structural improvement project, which will prepare the terminal to accommodate larger vessels and cranes while maintaining operations at SCPA's busiest container terminal.
The board adopted a resolution releasing 28.89 acres of property to the Charleston Naval Complex for transfer to Palmetto Railways for development related to the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility. The property was originally included as part of a larger parcel leased by SCPA in 1999 for the development of the Navy Base Terminal. The Board also approved the sale of 0.92 acres of the former Coal Tipple property to Kinder Morgan for $318,000.
The board also approved a resolution authorizing SCPA management to begin the process of issuing $300 million in revenue bonds. The bonds will support capital expenditures planned through fiscal year 2019, including Navy Base Terminal site preparation work, the Wando Welch Terminal (WWT) wharf strengthening project and the two super post-Panamax cranes on order for WWT.
The board elected officers to serve two-year terms beginning in 2016, with Pat McKinney to replace Bill Stern as Chair. Pamela Lackey will serve as Vice-Chair; Willie Jeffries, Secretary; and Mike Sisk, Treasurer.
Newsome presented an organizational realignment plan to the board that provides for five direct reports at the Senior Vice President level: Jack Ellenberg, Strategic Projects; Peter Hughes, Finance and Administration; Barbara Melvin, Operations and Terminals; Paul McClintock, Sales and Marketing; and Catherine Templeton, Human Resources, External Affairs and Legal. The new structure will take effect September 17.