FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Charleston, SC - To a record crowd of more than 550 maritime business leaders and elected officials, the leader of the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) highlighted progress on Charleston harbor deepening, a re-established competitive position and key accomplishments of the past year, all while looking to the future.
In his third State-of-the-Port Address in Charleston, SCPA President and CEO Jim Newsome repeated his belief in the future success of the port while charging the local crowd with the task at hand - building the port’s cargo business.
“We have no room to rest on our laurels, and we face a multi-year, intense effort to re-establish our port as an attractive global brand and revitalize our volumes,” he said.
A major part of Charleston’s future growth story, he shared, is in big ships. To support the expected surge of post-Panamax ship traffic in coming years, a post-45-foot deepening project is already underway in Charleston.
“We are investing $1.3 billion dollars of the next 10 years in our port facilities, an all-in bet on the future of big ships with no margin for error,” he stated, referring to the SCPA’s aggressive capital plan.
Following remarks by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Gov. Nikki Haley and an introduction by Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, Newsome reflected on the progress of major initiatives, including a $23-million improvement project to transform Columbus Street Terminal into a premier ro-ro and breakbulk facility. The terminal now handles several large, in-state customers, including BMW exports and energy equipment for General Electric and - starting next month - Westinghouse.
Earlier on Tuesday the SCPA Board approved a new seven-year employment contract with option to extend for Newsome, who joined the SCPA at the helm in 2009. Newsome described the vote of confidence as “very humbling” and one that creates a continuity of senior leadership in a port with many vital projects underway.
Despite the work to be done, Newsome reiterated his optimism for the future, given the many advantages of the Port of Charleston as well as the talent of the local maritime community.
“More than ever, I can say with confidence what I have said before - the best years of the Port of Charleston are ahead of us and not behind us.”
Please click here for Newsome’s entire State-of-the-Port Address.