Yesterday South Carolina Ports Authority reported nearly two percent container volume growth since the Port’s fiscal year began last July.
SCPA handled 167,398 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEU) in January. Fiscal year to date, the Port has moved 1.24 million TEUs, an increase of 1.8 percent over the same period last year.
“Strength in global container trade continues to drive increases in the Port’s container volumes, and at the current pace SCPA is on track to achieve a combined 12 percent growth rate over two fiscal years,” said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome. “We look forward to strong volumes this spring during what will be a very busy and important time for our port. Next week marks the arrival of two neo-Panamax cranes for the Wando Welch Terminal as well as the beginning of construction on the Charleston Harbor Deepening project, and in April, Inland Port Dillon will open for business.”
As measured by the total number of boxes handled, SCPA moved 94,852 pier containers last month for a total of 700,671 containers fiscal year to date.
Inland Port Greer handled 9,180 rail moves in January. Fiscal year to date, the facility’s volume is 4.15 percent higher than last year with 66,308 rail moves handled since July.
In non-containerized cargo, SCPA’s Charleston breakbulk facilities handled 55,224 pier tons in January. Since the fiscal year began, SCPA has moved 409,046 tons of breakbulk cargo including 118,122 vehicles.
Container Terminal Capacity
The SCPA Board of Directors recognized an increase in the container capacity of the Port of Charleston’s new and existing terminals following a review of opportunities to maximize capacity utilizing modern container handling techniques.
SCPA’s existing container terminals, Wando Welch and North Charleston, and the addition of the three-phase Hugh K. Leatherman, Senior Terminal by 2032 will provide a total container capacity of approximately 5 million TEUs. The Port’s previous capacity, including full build-out of the Leatherman Terminal, was estimated at 4.2 million TEUs.
“Over the last eight years, SCPA has grown steadily at a CAGR of 8 percent,” Newsome said. “We believe the South Atlantic ports will continue grow above the U.S. port market in percentage terms and that the movement of freight will become more challenging due to issues being encountered by the trucking industry. The Port will play an important role in facilitating this growth through modernization of our facilities, along with significant improvements in the South Atlantic Chassis Pool and other key assets for the movement of freight.”
The capacity increase will be achieved through enhancements to existing terminals, including the purchase of container handling equipment and modifications to overall layout, over approximately the next two years as well as the addition of the Leatherman Terminal.
“In addition to achieving further capacity at our Wando Welch and North Charleston terminals, we look forward to timely progression of the three phases of the Leatherman Terminal,” Newsome said. “Consideration will also be given to expansion of gate hours to handle increasing volumes after full consultation with the local trucking community.”
In support of the planned optimization of existing terminal facilities, the Board approved $19 million for the purchase of two additional ship-to-shore (STS) cranes for the North Charleston Terminal. The Board previously approved the purchase of six STS cranes, including five cranes for the Leatherman Terminal and one for the Wando Terminal, in November 2017. The Wando Terminal received two neo-Panamax cranes with 155′ lift height in August 2016 and will welcome the arrival of two additional cranes of the same height next week.