SC Port Authority’s fiscal year volumes remain stable despite COVID-19 impact

SC Port Authority’s fiscal year volumes remain stable despite COVID-19 impact
A ship at the Wando Welch Terminal

Despite impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, the South Carolina (SC) Ports Authority managed to finish the fiscal year 2020 with relatively steady volumes compared to the previous fiscal year.

From July through to January, SC Ports was on track to achieve yet another record fiscal year until the pandemic hit and caused global disruption to supply chains and business operations.

Jim Newsome, SC Ports president and CEO said: “The pandemic impacted business across the board and our volumes reflect that. We hope to see continued recovery as we begin fiscal year 2021.”

SC Ports remained fully operational through these disruptions and finished the fiscal year 2020 with 2.32m teu handled at the Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals, which is a decrease of 2.8% from 2019.

The port authority recorded 58 blanked sailings from January to June and has announced 14 additional blank sailings for July onward.

At the Port of Charleston, both vehicles and pier tonnes grew modestly with pier tonnes growing 2.5% to 640,929 in fiscal year 2020.

Vehicle volumes started to rebound in June after many automotive manufacturing plants resumed normal operations in May, with 199,825 vehicles handled at Columbus Street Terminal.

Meanwhile, cruise passengers rose 2.2% year-on-year to 217,673 despite cruise lines pausing operations since March.

SC Ports’ two inland ports sustained success with regional rail initiatives as Inland Port Greer’s rail moves fell 2.1% to 140,155 while Inland Port Dillon achieved its highest fiscal year volume on record with 32,453 rail moves, up 9.7%.

Barbara Melvin, SC Ports COO, said: “Our inland ports are an excellent success story for SC Ports and South Carolina.

“The inland ports provide crucial speed-to-market for cargo owners. Inland Port Greer and Inland Port Dillon also extend our reach beyond the waterfront, ensuring we are a port for the entire state.”

SC Ports remains focused on growing cargo volumes and bringing new infrastructure online 2021.

Newsome added: “We have positioned ourselves well for future growth as we prepare to open our state-of-the-art container terminal, the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal, in this fiscal year. I look to our future with great energy and optimism.”