FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Charleston – Moody's Investors Service has affirmed an A1 rating for the South Carolina State Ports Authority's outstanding debt and provided a stable outlook, citing low debt levels, favorable financial performance and distinct competitive advantages.
The ratings update said the Port of Charleston's operating style and “unusually high productivity” have enabled the port “to achieve favorable financial performance and maintain market share within the highly competitive port industry.”
The SCSPA is an operating port, running its own facilities. According to Moody's, this allows the port to maximize “both the use of its facilities and operating revenue.” Since 2000, the Ports Authority's operating revenues have grown 7.2% on average each year.
The Port of Charleston, the report states, ranks closely with the most efficient ports in Asia, averaging 40 container moves per hour while a satisfactory U.S. average is 30 moves an hour. Container volume through Charleston increased to 1.97 million TEU (20-foot equivalent units) in FY05, up 14% from the previous year.
The A1 rating on $139.6 million in outstanding port revenue bonds takes into consideration the port's future growth and need to fund wharf and equipment improvements and expand its terminals. The SCSPA expects to spend $222 million on capital projects over the next three years.
Revenue bonds issued by the SCSPA have provided the funds for completion of the Wando Welch Terminal and other major projects. These bonds and the interest payable on them are an obligation of the Ports Authority - not the state of South Carolina or taxpayers.
The complete report is available online at www.moodys.com.
Byron D. Miller
Director, Public Relations
S.C. State Ports Authority
Moody's Investors Services
(212) 553-0376 # # #