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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: EDhand@scspa.com


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
3/23/2011

February Volume Up 7% at South Carolina Ports

Charleston, SC - Volume at South Carolina’s public ports was up in February on the heels on major improvements to container operations and the completion of a nearly $22-million project to accommodate growth in Charleston’s breakbulk sector.

Container volume in the Port of Charleston climbed 7 percent in February over the same month last year while volume for the first eight months of the South Carolina State Ports Authority’s (SCSPA) fiscal year increased more than 12 percent.

The Port of Charleston handled 108,994 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in February, up from 101,900 TEUs in February of last year. Fiscal year to date (July through February), Charleston handled 912,789 TEUs, up 12.4 percent from the same period last year.

The increase follows a major streamlining in January of the SCSPA’s container business segment, where all container business was consolidated in two terminals in Charleston while gate operations and processes were harmonized at those terminals. The move offered numerous benefits to port users, including extended gate hours and access to the SCSPA’s information systems for all port customers, all while boosting capacity by about 10 percent.

The SCSPA anticipates continued, but moderate, growth through the year. “Our team has re-established South Carolina’s commercial position and we are headed in the right direction,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the SCSPA.

Breakbulk tonnage in the Ports of Charleston and Georgetown was up more than 44 percent for the first eight months of the fiscal year, with 657,528 tons handled at the two ports in fiscal year 2011 versus 455,449 tons handled last year.

A $21.7-million project to reconfigure and improve Columbus Street Terminal as Charleston’s principal breakbulk, roll-on/roll-off and project cargo-handling facility was completed last month. The terminal now handles BMW’s growing export vehicle business that last year totaled more than $4 billion in cars shipped through the Port of 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 more than $50 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 nearly $45 billion in economic activity each year.  For more information, visit www.scspa.com.