18 Percent Increase in Container Volume at SC Ports - SC Ports Authority
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18 Percent Increase in Container Volume at SC Ports

New breakbulk service announced; Vice President, Secretary of Transportation visit

Charleston – The SC Ports Authority handled 152,917 twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, in January, marking an 18 percent boost in container volumes over the same month last year.

January container traffic pushed fiscal year to date TEU volumes past the 1 million mark, with 1,072,438 TEUs moved since the period began in July. Fiscal year to date, TEU volumes are up 14 percent year over year.

As measured in pier containers, SCPA moved 88,619 boxes in January. With 614,372 boxes handled fiscal year to date, pier container levels are up 15 percent compared to the same period last year.

“While ship sizes grow, driving increases in the number of container moves per vessel, our port continues to work well,” said SCPA President and CEO Jim Newsome. “Strong terminal productivity ensures trucks can efficiently move cargo in and out of our facilities without delays.”

Non-containerized cargo also saw gains in January, with total fiscal year to date breakbulk volumes 7 percent higher than planned levels. In January Charleston handled 65,153 tons and is slightly above plan for the fiscal year. Georgetown handled 14,933 tons, bringing the facility’s fiscal year gains to 15 percent over plan.

The SCPA posted record intermodal rail growth for in 2014, with an increase of 38 percent over last year. The SPCA handled 199,000 rail lifts last year with increases across all major lanes, including Memphis, Greer, Atlanta, Birmingham and Nashville. Rail volume has doubled since 2011, and nearly 20 percent of the SCPA’s total container volume currently moves by rail.

A significant driver of continued rail volume increases is the Inland Port, which reached an all-time high in monthly rail lifts in January. The Inland Port handled 5,068 rail moves last month, and 30,495 rail lifts completed fiscal year to date.

Board Action

The Board passed a resolution authorizing the SCPA to oversee construction of a Site Operations Center on the BMW campus in Spartanburg, SC. BMW currently leases the industrial site from the SCPA, and as the landowner SCPA will manage the construction process of the facility. The project is estimated to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.

In other action items, the Board approved a contract to perform annual berth dredging at Wando Welch Terminal and authorized the purchase of six full container handlers as part of the SCPA’s scheduled equipment replacement plan. The Board also approved the expansion of the perimeter security system at Columbus Street Terminal.

Charleston Adds Trans-Pacific Project Carrier Service

BBC Chartering, a carrier specializing in over-dimensional, non-containerized cargo, recently announced a new monthly breakbulk service connecting the Port of Charleston to Asia. The service will support strong market demand in North America for delivery of breakbulk cargo manufactured in China, Korea and Japan, as well as offer export opportunities from Charleston to Asia. Vessels in this service, which serves the Ports of Shanghai, Masan, Kobe and Yokohama, will call the Columbus Street Terminal.

“Charleston has become a very important hub for BBC, both for imports and exports, and the Columbus Street Terminal is a first class facility for moving specialized breakbulk cargo,” said Per Peterson, BBC President. “The Port offers great connections to the backcountry both by rail and truck, with clearance necessary for transporting the complex cargos being moved in and out of the port. We have enjoyed great cooperation with SCPA personnel in order to meet BBC’s needs. We expect strength in this trade lane for years to come and look forward to expanding our services in and out of the region.”

Vice President, Secretary of Transportation Visit Wando Welch Terminal

This morning Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx visited the Wando Welch Terminal to discuss the facility’s upcoming wharf improvement project, which received a 10.8 million dollar Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant in September.

“The future is a choice, and Charleston will seize the opportunities the future holds by preparing its terminals to serve post-Panamax ships,” said US Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The TIGER grant supports the Port’s critical project to upgrade the Wando terminal structure and purchase new cranes to handle the growing size of ships today.”

As the SCPA’s busiest container terminal, Wando Welch receives approximately 11 post-Panamax vessels weekly. The wharf improvement project includes upgrades to structural support of the wharf and fendering system, as well as modifications to crane rails to accommodate two new super-post-Panamax cranes on order for the terminal.

“Infrastructure investments grow jobs and economies, and they are critically important to our nation,” said Vice President Joe Biden. “The future of commerce remains on the high seas, with cargo arriving on post-Panamax vessels. SC Ports Authority is ahead of the curve, and modernizing the Wando Terminal ensures continued growth of maritime commerce and jobs.”

The visit was part of Secretary Foxx’s GROW AMERICA EXPRESS Bus Tour through the Southeastern United States this week to highlight the importance of transportation infrastructure investments. Vice President Biden, who highlighted his support of the Post-45 Harbor Deepening Project in today’s remarks, previously visited SCPA in September 2013 after the Administration selected the project as a We Can’t Wait initiative.

About the South Carolina Ports Authority
The South Carolina Ports Authority, established by the state’s General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport facilities in Charleston, Georgetown and Greer, handling international commerce valued at more than $63 billion annually while receiving no direct taxpayer subsidy. An economic development engine for the state, port operations facilitate 260,800 jobs across South Carolina and nearly $45 billion in economic activity each year. For more information, visit www.scspa.com.

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