SC Ports Sees Strong Volumes in January

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

S.C. Ports Authorityopens in a new window saw steady container volumes in January, with strong year-over-year increases in the vehicle, cruise and inland ports segments.

S.C. Ports moved 211,020 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) across the Wando Welchopens in a new window and North Charlestonopens in a new window container terminals in January — the highest January ever for TEU volumes. SCPA has handled 1.44 million TEUs thus far in fiscal year 2020, from July through January.

As measured by the total number of boxes handled, SCPA moved 118,943 pier containers in January for a total of 813,599 pier containers in fiscal year 2020.

Vehicle volumes are up 32% year-over-year with a total of 131,153 vehicles handled thus far in fiscal year 2020. The Port moved 15,546 vehicles at Columbus Street Terminalopens in a new window in January.

Cruise passengers are up 48% year-over-year with 179,792 passengers handled thus far in fiscal year 2020; much of that increase is attributed to Carnival’s new Sunshine ship, which accommodates more passengers without increasing the number of ships coming to Charleston. The Port handled 26,522 cruise passengers in January.

“Our volumes are consistent and strong during a time of uncertainty in the global market,” S.C. Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “Our success is made possible by our efficiently run terminals, excellent maritime community and advantageous position in the Southeast. We plan to further grow our cargo base through increased retail cargo and enhanced rail connections.”

S.C. Ports’ inland port network continues to see growth as more companies opt to move cargo to and from the Port of Charleston via overnight rail.

Inland Port Greeropens in a new window reported 11,552 rail moves in January, while Inland Port Dillonopens in a new window reported 3,237 rail moves last month. Combined, the inland ports reported 105,996 rail moves in fiscal year 2020, up 18% year-over-year.

In addition to growing and diversifying its cargo base, S.C. Ports continually invests in big-ship infrastructure. In 2021, S.C. Ports will open the country’s newest container terminal — the Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. Terminalopens in a new window — and achieve the deepest harbor on the East Coast when Charleston Harbor reaches 52 feetopens in a new window.

Roaring into the ’20s

S.C. Ports recently celebratedopens in a new window the structural completion of the first building at the Hugh Leatherman Terminal in North Charleston. The operations building is taking shape as work progresses on the 1,400-foot-wharf. The terminal’s first phase is set to open in March 2021.

S.C. Ports welcomed three new hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes to Wando Welch Terminal as it also prepares to have a new ship-to-shore crane become operational there this week. The new ship-to-shore crane has 155 feet of lift height; it is one of three new cranes that arrived in Octoberopens in a new window.

The opening of the Leatherman Terminal and enhancements at Wando Welch Terminal will enable S.C. Ports to handle four 14,000-TEU vessels simultaneously next year.

Awards and accolades

In January, the Maritime Association of the Port of New York and New Jersey announced that Newsome will be inducted into the prestigious 2020 International Maritime Hall of Fameopens in a new window.

Newsome was also honored with the Roger Milliken Defender of Manufacturing Awardopens in a new window from the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance, and the Distinguished Service Awardopens in a new window from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

S.C. Port’s Engineering and Operations Departments received recognition for engineering excellenceopens in a new window by the American Council of Engineering Companies of South Carolina for environmental work on Drum Island and transportation improvements at Wando Welch Terminal.

S.C. Ports also won the highest award for the 2019 Charleston Healthy Business Challengeopens in a new window, which is an effort by the city of Charleston, Medical University of South Carolina, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. to create healthier workplaces.

In 2019, S.C. Ports moved into its state-of-the-art headquarters building, which was built with employee well-being in mind. SCPA and its Talent Solutions Department were recognized for efforts to improve the health of employees through initiatives such as free weekly yoga classes, an on-site gym, an on-site health care facility, a walking trail, standing desks and healthy options at the cafeteria.