SC Ports Logo

176 Concord Street, P.O. Box 22287, Charleston, SC 29413-2287
Contact: Erin Dhand, Manager, Corporate Communications and Community Affairs
Telephone: 843-577-8121 • Fax: 843-577-8127 • e-mail:


Charleston Containers Up 19% in First Half, Harbor Deepening Reaches Milestone

Charleston, SC - Deepening of Charleston Harbor, already the deepest in the Southeast, reached another milestone as container volumes in the Port of Charleston increased 19 percent in the first half of 2010.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Charleston District has favorably concluded the Reconnaissance Study for the post-45-foot deepening project in Charleston Harbor. The study determined a federal interest in proceeding to the next step in the process - the feasibility phase - to further define time and costs associated with deepening Charleston's channels.

At the same time, container volumes in the Port of Charleston have continued to climb. Buoyed by new shipping services and major new investments in the area, container volume increased 19 percent during the first six months of 2010.

In June, pier containers at the Port of Charleston increased almost 34 percent over the previous year - the fourth straight month of year-over-year, double-digit increases.

Despite widespread declines in global trade in 2009, the SCSPA volumes rebounded during the past six months and closed its most recent fiscal year exceeding its budgeted container volume. In the accounting period that ended June 30, Charleston handled 741,208 pier containers, off 5.2 percent from FY2009.

“Despite a very challenging economic environment, the SCSPA posted an operating profit and enjoyed strong volume increases over the past six months,” said Bill Stern, chairman of the SCSPA board. “While we expect volume to moderate in the latter half of the year, we're encouraged that business has returned at such a fast pace and we're headed in the right direction.”

Contributing to the recent volume gains, Charleston added three new shipping services in FY2010, including Mediterranean Shipping Company's Golden Gate Service (GGS). The GGS, which had its first local call in February, is bringing ships of more than 8,000 20-foot equivalent units to the port on a regular basis. This highlights Charleston's deep-water capabilities in the Southeast region.

“The port is handling the biggest ships on the East Coast today while working toward even deeper channels that will secure our state's future in global trade,” said Jim Newsome, SCSPA president and CEO.

On the cargo development side, major global corporations are locating or expanding in the port's service area while the SCSPA has launched new targeted sales efforts:

During the current fiscal year, which began on July 1, the SCSPA is projecting a seven percent increase in container volume and a more than 50 percent increase in breakbulk and non-container cargo.

At the same time, the SCSPA plans to invest nearly $77 million this fiscal year on terminal improvements, including work on the SCSPA's new container terminal on the former Navy Base as well as a new cruise terminal in downtown Charleston.

ABOUT THE SOUTH CAROLINA STATE PORTS AUTHORITY - The South Carolina State Ports Authority, established by the state's General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport facilities in Charleston and Georgetown, handling international commerce valued at nearly $45 billion annually while receiving no direct taxpayer subsidy. An economic development engine for the state, port operations facilitate 260,800 jobs across South Carolina and $44.8 billion in economic activity each year.

For more information, visit