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Bigger Ships Boost Container Volumes in South Carolina

Bigger Ships Boost Container Volumes in South Carolina
The South Carolina Ports Authority handled 14% more containers at its ports of Charleston, Georgetown and Greer during the 2015 fiscal year, compared to the volumes recorded in FY2014.

SCPA handled 1.9 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) during the fiscal year that ended June 30, a jump of 231,473 TEUs from the 2014 fiscal year. June volumes provided a strong finish to FY2015 with 169,913 TEUs moved during the month.

Pier containers, or box volume, also climbed 14 percent in FY2015 with 138,221 more boxes handled compared to FY2014. SCPA moved 96,916 boxes in June, pushing total fiscal year volume to 1.1 million containers.

In the non-containerized cargo segment, breakbulk tonnage exceeded fiscal year planned volumes by 6 percent with 1.4 million pier tons handled during the year.

SCPA says that the increased volumes were due to the progress of the Panama Canal expansion and the Bayonne Bridge raising, which allowed for big ships to transition to East Coast trade routes. SCPA currently receives 11 post-Panamax vessel calls each week.

“Fiscal year 2015 was marked by a number of exciting economic development announcements representing future volume opportunities for SCPA, including Daimler, Kent Bicycle, Volvo, and most recently, Dollar Tree,” SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome said

“The port’s ability to serve these companies’ supply chains played a key role in their decision to locate or expand in SC. Our strategic initiative to grow our cargo base is paying off.”

In the fiscal year ahead, SCPA expects to focus on increasing revenues to fund its capital projects, including the construction of the Navy Base container terminal by the end of the decade. FY2016 will also be a significant year for deepening the Charleston Harbor to 52 feet, with the Chief’s Report expected in September while the Preconstruction Engineering and Design phase is ongoing, followed by construction.

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