Passed by Congress earlier this week and signed by the President two days ago, the 2015 fiscal year appropriations bill delivers a positive step forward for the Post-45 Harbor Deepening Project and other key SC Ports Authority initiatives.
The bill includes $695,000 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete the Feasibility Study phase and its investigation, as well as a $1.2 million 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 $13.1 million for ongoing Charleston Harbor operations and maintenance.
“The Omnibus appropriations to SC Ports Authority projects are significant, particularly the support of our harbor 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 harbors that could provide opportunities for the Port of Georgetown to compete for maintenance funding to restore its harbor depth.
SCPA also announced another month of double-digit container growth, with fiscal year-to-date volumes up 13 percent year over year.
The Port handled 144,218 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in November, an increase of 8 percent over the same month last year. Fiscal year to date TEU volumes are 11 percent ahead of plan, with 777,566 TEUs handled since July.
As measured in pier containers, SCPA handled 82,466 boxes last month, an increase of 10 percent over November 2013 volumes. Fiscal year to date, pier container volume is up 14 percent year over year.
Also worth mentioning are two awards the SCPA received from the Journal of Commerce at last week’s Port Performance North America Conference. The Port of Charleston and North Charleston Terminal were recognized for berth productivity for the first half of 2014.