FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Charleston, SC - The Port of Charleston's container volume in December was 36% higher than the same month in 2003, pushing volume for the first six months of the fiscal year to all-time record levels.
In the first half of fiscal 2005, total container shipments through Charleston increased 16.7% from the same period last year, approaching one million TEU (20-foot equivalent container units).
In the July to December period, loaded outbound and inbound shipments both jumped 17%, reaching 975,554 TEU when compared to 836,224 TEU in the last half of 2003.
The growth was spread among ocean carriers and trade routes, with Asia, the Indian subcontinent and South America representing the largest share of the increase.
Improvements to existing terminals and new technology are allowing Charleston to handle the growth while also enhancing productivity, according to Bernard S. Groseclose Jr., president and CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA).
“In the face of rapidly increasing volume, Charleston's crane productivity continues to rise and truck turn times continue to drop,” said Groseclose. “Charleston's waterfront community is capable of handling huge surges of cargo while also offering better service to ocean carriers, truckers and shippers.”
The SCSPA has launched its new Yard Management System (YMS) to track and expedite truckers through its “common user,” or port-operated, gates.
After YMS was launched at Charleston's second-largest terminal, volume nearly doubled yet trucker turn times were slashed and labor costs remained constant. Last week, the system was rolled out with similar results at Charleston's largest facility, the Wando Welch Terminal.
Charleston and its customers also recently began enjoying the benefits of a new 45-foot channel and millions of dollars in new container stacking equipment. The nation's largest cable-stayed bridge will open in Charleston in April of this year at a cost of more than $600 million, providing enhanced vessel access for the largest container ships afloat.