FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Charleston, SC - The Port of Charleston’s container volume increased more than 14 percent in November, the 11th consecutive month of growth.
Charleston’s container volume in November totaled 65,251 pier containers, up 14.4 percent from the same month in 2009 (57,039 pier containers). Through the first 11 months of 2010, Charleston container volume is up 17.5 percent. Container volume over the past five months was up 15.9 percent.
“A recovering economy and new ocean carrier services boosted our business,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA). “As we predicted, volume is softening from previous months as we reach the end of the peak season. But Charleston has a number of specific cargo initiatives, such as the new 100,000-lb. overweight permit for containerized freight in South Carolina, which will bear fruit moving ahead.”
A new, weekly North Europe joint service of CMA CGM and CSAV commenced in Charleston on November 1, while the South Carolina Department of Transportation increased overweight permit limits to 100,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight for containerized goods.
Non-containerized cargo in November was double the budgeted projection, due to triple-digit percentage increases in breakbulk cargo. Total breakbulk volume in November was 128,386 tons. South Carolina’s breakbulk pier tonnage is up 18 percent year-over-year from January to November and 19 percent for the first five months of the fiscal year.
Operational changes coming down the pike will allow the SCSPA to better serve its diverse business segments. In early 2011, the SCSPA will shift roll-on/roll-off operations to Columbus Street Terminal, where a $20-million improvement project is nearing completion to greatly enhance auto carrier operations in Charleston.
This move will allow the SCSPA to commence the redevelopment of Union Pier Terminal, beginning with a new cruise terminal at the northern end of the facility. A request for proposals for the design of the cruise terminal was released last week, and the terminal will be completed in 2012.
In addition, the SCSPA continues to pursue federal funding for the next phase of Charleston’s post-45 foot harbor deepening project. A U.S. Corps of Engineers study found that Charleston is likely the least expensive port in the region to reach 50 feet.
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 www.scspa.com.