November growth in South Carolina

November growth in South Carolina

The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) has recorded another month of double-digit container growth, with fiscal year-to-date volumes up 13% year on year.

The port handled 144,218 teu in November, an increase of 8% over the same month last year. Fiscal year-to-date container volumes are 11% ahead of plan, with 777,566 teu handled since July.

As measured in pier containers, SCPA handled 82,466 boxes last month, an increase of 10% over November 2013 volumes. Fiscal year-to-date, pier container volume is up 14% year on year.

Non-containerised cargo volumes also saw strong gains in November. Charleston handled 61,114 pier tonnes last month, bringing fiscal year-to-date tonnage totals ahead of plan by nearly 5%. Georgetown handled 48,917 tonnes in November, pushing tonnage nearly 29% higher than fiscal year plans.

The Inland Port handled 3,972 rail moves in November. With 21,686 lifts completed over the fiscal year to date, the facility is 47% 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 US$1.56m 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 US$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.

Passed by Congress and signed by the President earlier this month, the 2015 fiscal year appropriations bill has delivered a positive step forward for the Post-45 Harbour Deepening Project and other key SCPA initiatives.

The bill includes US$695,000 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete the Feasibility Study phase and its investigation, as well as a US$1.2m 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 US$13.1m for ongoing Charleston Harbour operations and maintenance.

“The Omnibus appropriations to SC Ports Authority projects are significant, particularly the support of our harbour 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 harbours that could provide opportunities for the Port of Georgetown to compete for maintenance funding to restore its harbour depth.