The South Carolina Ports Authority handled 133,011 20-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, in September, increasing its FY2014 first quarter total volume by 3.3% over the same period last year.
From July through September 2013, the SCPA moved 413,818 TEUs. Total exports for the quarter reached 216,680 TEUs, a 4% increase for the Port over the first quarter of FY2013.
During the period 459 ships called on SCPA facilities, representing a 4.8% increase over plan. The SCPA currently has seven post-Panamax ship calls per week.
“Cargo growth is a top priority for the SC Ports Authority, and we increased volumes on ships that validate our deep-water strategy during the first quarter, meeting an extremely aggressive growth goal for the period,” said SCPA Board Chairman Bill Stern.
“The maritime industry is experiencing a great deal of change,” said SCPA President and CEO Jim Newsome. “There is concern among ocean carriers about how much demand there will be, but one thing is for certain 13,000 TEU ships will be calling on the East Coast as soon as the Bayonne Bridge is raised.”
Additional Funding Approved for Inland Port Completion
To facilitate completion of the Inland Port terminal in Greer, the Board approved $2.7 million in funding to cover unforeseen weather and typography challenges from site construction. Previously the Board approved $41.2 million for the project as part of a $1.3-billion 10-year SCPA capital plan for new and existing port facilities.
The Inland Port is open, with SCPA staff on-site testing IT systems and handling other preliminary operational activities. Regular cargo activity is expected to begin this week with construction ongoing at the site through the end of the year.
“In the long term, the Inland Port will be catalyst for redefining how distribution is done in South Carolina and surrounding areas,” said Newsome. “We have to focus on innovative solutions to logistics challenges. I think we’ll look back on this as an extremely good investment.”
Situated on a 91-acre site, the terminal offers overnight rail service to and from the Port of Charleston with initial utilization of approximately 40,000 container moves annually with the potential to expand to 100,000 moves annually.
In other action items, the Board authorized preliminary engineering work for structural wharf repairs and upgrades to the Wando Welch Terminal.
“The ships that called on the Port of Charleston in the 1970s when the Wando Welch Terminal was designed and constructed are no longer the ships of today,” said Stern. “We’re modernizing our facilities for the future. With bigger ships and deeper water, we’re working to best utilize the land assets we have to continue to grow our Port.”
Press Release, October 17, 2013