SC Ports Authority reported container volumes up 13 percent fiscal year to date, a strong start to the first two months of the fiscal calendar.
The SCPA handled 163,970 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in August, in increase from 144,649 TEUs moved during the same month last year and 153,916 handled in July. Fiscal year to date, SCPA container volume is 12.2 percent ahead of plan.
As measured in pier containers, July and August volumes are up 13.5 percent year over year. SCPA moved 93,221 boxes in August for a total of 181,103 pier containers to date in FY2015.
In non-containerized cargo, Charleston breakbulk tonnage is on plan with 134,105 tons handled in August. Georgetown saw a strong month, with fiscal year to date volumes up 6.6 percent over the same period last year. Georgetown handled 124,080 pier tons in July and August.
“Strong container volumes are driving exceptional fiscal year to date operating earnings, which were nearly 70 percent higher than last July and August,” said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome. “Over the next several months, we will be watching the development of vessel sharing agreements and evaluating the impacts they will have on our FY2015 volumes, as well as implementing our new customer contract approach.”
The Board approved a $1.24 million proposal to modify gantry wheels on the ship-to-shore cranes that will remain in use at the Wando Welch Terminal following the wharf improvement project. Larger gantry wheel surfaces are necessary to accommodate the neo-Panamax cranes and rail that will be implemented during the terminal upgrade process.
In related business, the Board approved $1.7 million in modifications to the two super-post-Panamax on order for Wando.
SC Port Week
In support of the maritime industry and recognition of last week’s port-related activities, Gov. Haley named September 8-12, 2014 “South Carolina Ports Week.”
On September 8 Newsome addressed SCPA growth and challenges at the Propeller Club’s annual State of the Port. He highlighted that the SCPA’s 8 percent volume increase in FY2014 and emphasized that continued above-market growth is necessary to support long-term capital projects, including terminal upgrades and construction of the Navy Base terminal.
Last week the SCPA also confirmed that it will receive a $10.8 million dollar Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant for planned upgrades and improvements to the Wando terminal.
On Friday Maritime Administrator Paul N. Jaenichen held a press conference at SCPA to formally announce the award and discuss national transportation and infrastructure needs with maritime and community leaders.
Press Release, September 18, 2014