October container volume up 17 percent at S.C. ports

The following is the text of a news release from the South Carolina Ports Authority:

(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — Today the S.C. Ports Authority announced October volumes up nearly 17 percent year over year, continuing a strong growth trend in container traffic well above the organization's financial plan.

SCPA handled 164,672 TEUs in October, up from 141,049 TEUs moved during the same month last year. Fiscal year to date, TEU volumes are up 14 percent and nearly 13 percent ahead of plan.

As measured in pier containers, October volume increased 19 percent over the same month last year, with 94,470 boxes moved. Fiscal year to date, pier container volume is 12 percent over plan and 15 percent higher than the same period last year.

Total break-bulk cargo tonnage also continues to climb, with fiscal year-to-date volumes 20 percent ahead of plan. Last month Charleston handled with 87,224 pier tons for an increase of 7 percent over fiscal year-to-date plans. Georgetown also contributed to strength in the business segment, with 62,591 pier tons handled in October for a 42 percent gain over planned fiscal year-to-date tonnage.

The South Carolina Inland Port in Greer continues to exceed performance expectations, handling 4,678 rail lifts in October. Fiscal year to date, rail lifts at the facility are up 1.5 times over plan with 17,714 moves since July.     

"SCPA's strong volume and earnings performance is broad-based and reflective of the growth in a number of market segments combined with the fact that our port continues to offer the highest levels of service and reliability in the U.S. port industry," said SCPA President and CEO Jim Newsome. "While we are pleased with the strong levels of growth, we expect this growth to moderate in the last two months of the year and into next year. We do believe that the South Atlantic port market will continue to outperform the U.S. port market due to strength in manufacturing along with overall regional growth."

Newsome discussed the statewide support for harbor deepening received during the public comment period for the Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

"We are grateful for the positive comments received concerning the Charleston Harbor deepening study. Upon completion, the project will give Charleston the deepest harbor on the U.S. East Coast," Newsome said.

In action items, the board approved an offer from Furman Company Investment Advisory Services LLC to purchase the Port of Port Royal for $15.42 million. Pending review and approval of the offer by the S.C. Budget and Control Board, the SCPA will issue a contract to the Furman Company and a formal inspection period will begin. 

"The SCPA is pleased to move forward with the presentation of the offer to the Budget and Control Board," said SCPA board Chairman Bill Stern. "We remain committed to selling the Port of Port Royal for the benefit of both the town and ports authority."

By Professional Mariner Staff