Container volumes rose by 13.4% at Charleston in March compared to last year, as the port gears up to handle a 13,092 teu vessel in May, the largest to ever call the US East Coast.
Charleston handled 108,961 boxes while South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) as a whole saw volumes increase by 16.8% in the first three months of this year to 553,248 teu.
Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO, said: “With the highest container volume ever handled by our port and record rail moves at Inland Port Greer, March was an exceptionally strong finish to the third [fiscal] quarter.
“We’re seeing healthy growth of both import and export cargo and are on target for achieving our planned container volume growth of 6% this fiscal year.”
The port is “monitoring the impacts of the mega-alliances”, he added, with the 13,092 teu COSCO Development visiting Charleston in May, as part of the Ocean Alliance’s South Atlantic Express (SAX) service.
The vessel is one of 11 ships on the SAX service, comprised of vessels ranging in size from 11,000 to 13,000 teu.
The route connects Charleston with Hong Kong, Yantian, Ningbo and Shanghai via the Panama Canal.
Today, 18 of SCPA’s 24 weekly container vessel services are comprised of ships too large to transit the Panama Canal prior to its expansion.