FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Charleston, SC - While container volume at the Port of Charleston fell 11% in 2007, breakbulk volume rose 18% for the year, new terminal construction advanced and more than 20 million square feet of new warehouse and industrial space is in the works.
In 2007, the Port of Charleston's total pier volume was 1.75 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEU), down from 1.97 million TEU in 2006. A number of factors drove the decline in the container sector, including weakness in the Europe trade, declining shipments of housing-related commodities and consolidations in the ocean carrier industry.
Meanwhile, breakbulk business, including rolling stock, increased 18% to 649,000 tons, primarily on the strength of export shipments.
Developments currently in progress should help Charleston's container volume rebound. Just inland from the port, a number of major developers have disclosed sites that will bring about 20 million square feet in new warehousing and distribution space to the region.
Major investments in the Charleston area by Hillwood Investment Properties, Childress Klein, Johnson Development, Rockefeller and others are moving along, taking advantage of the proximity of the Port of Charleston.
In nearby Orangeburg, SC, Jafza International has purchased 1,300 acres to develop a $600 million logistics, manufacturing and distribution hub.
Charleston is also adding port capacity with both short term and long term expansion efforts. The final phase of the Wando Welch Terminal is underway. These additional 50 acres will boost capacity in the near term. A $28-million contract to develop the first 25 acres of additional container yard was awarded in September and is underway.
Development of a new, 280-acre terminal at the former Navy Base is moving ahead, with permits issued in April of last year. Building demolition and site prep started last year, and PB Americas was awarded a more than $8-million contract to provide construction management services during the site preparation phase. The major dredge and fill contract is expected to be awarded early this year.
The $550-million Phase I of the project is expected to open in 2013, and the terminal at build out will increase Charleston's port capacity by about 50%, or 1.4 million TEU. ###