SC Ports Authority today reported container business up 12 percent in 2014, a year highlighted by strong volume growth and substantial forward progress on the harbor deepening project.
In December the Port handled 141,956 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), up 14 percent compared to the same month last year. SCPA container volume rose to nearly 1.8 million TEUs in 2014.
As measured in pier containers, SCPA handled 1,022,781 boxes at its two container terminals in 2014, an increase of 12 percent over 909,827 containers handled in 2013.
“The 12 percent increase in TEU volumes last year reflects growth in a number of business segments, including import parts and components for automotive manufacturing and export grains and refrigerated cargo,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. “The reliability of our port is an important driver of increased discretionary cargo volumes, and the addition of several new services with all post-Panamax vessels also contributed to growth of our container business.”
Non-containerized cargo business volume was strong in 2014, with 830,189 pier tons handled last year. The roll-on, roll-off segment of breakbulk volume grew 15 percent in 2014, with nearly 41,000 additional BMW vehicles moved through Charleston.
The Inland Port handled 3,741 rail moves in December, completing its first full calendar year of operation in 2014 with 42,555 total rail moves.
In addition to strong volume growth in 2014, Newsome also highlighted the release of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement as a major milestone achieved last year.
“The deepening of the Charleston harbor to 52 feet will support the continued growth and competitiveness of our port and foster economic development opportunities across South Carolina,” Newsome said.
Mid-way through the 2015 fiscal year that began in July, the Port has handled 919,521 TEUs, a 13 percent increase over the same period last year.
Fiscal year to date, breakbulk volume in Charleston is slightly over plan, with 402,020 tons handled since June. Georgetown tonnage remains strong, with fiscal year to date gains of 26 percent over planned volumes. Georgetown has moved 328,136 pier tons since June.