USA: SCPA CEO Provides Update on Charleston’s Harbor Deepening
Container volume in the Port of Charleston rose nearly 8 percent last month over 2011 levels, in results announced during the South Carolina Ports Authority’s (SCPA) Board meeting.
In April, the SCPA handled 123,439 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the Port of Charleston, the strongest April seen at the port since 2008 and a 7.7 percent increase from the same month last year. Containerized traffic in TEUs for the 10 months comprising the fiscal year to date (June through April) is up 2.7 percent from the same period last year while container volume for the calendar year to date (January through April) increased 7.3 percent over 2011 levels.
SCPA President and CEO Jim Newsome described that two new, weekly container services connecting the Port of Charleston to markets in Asia, including the first direct Vietnam call for the port, will begin in June.
The SCPA’s non-containerized cargo continued its upward trend, with breakbulk tonnage in the Port of Charleston up 57 percent with for the month of April and up nearly 24 percent in the fiscal year to date.
In the Port of Georgetown, pier tons were fairly flat in April compared to the same month last year, but activity there has more than doubled in the fiscal year to date.
Newsome also provided the Board an update on Charleston’s harbor deepening project, describing that he is “extremely pleased” with recent progress.
“This project has a high degree of recognition,” he said. “We are in a time when the urgency of improving ports and harbors is understood by all levels of leadership.”
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee last month retained $3.55 million in funding allocated to the deepening project’s feasibility study through the Administration’s budget for fiscal year 2013, which begins in October.
In the state legislature, the South Carolina House of Representatives has set aside $180 million in non-recurring funds for the harbor deepening construction as part of the state budget, currently under review in the Senate. This allocation would cover the state’s 60 percent share of the estimated $300 million cost for construction. Last month, the South Carolina Senate passed a bill authorizing the state to borrow up to $120 million to complete the project if federal funds are not available.
Dredging Today Staff, May 18, 2012;