FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Charleston, SC - Container volume in the Port of Charleston rose 12 percent in March, the strongest month for containerized traffic at the port since October 2008.
In results announced at today’s regular Board meeting, the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) handled 134,857 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the Port of Charleston in March, up 12 percent from the same month last year and up 13 percent from February.
“We continue to work hard to grow our cargo volumes above the market and attract new shipping services to our ports,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the SCPA.
For the fiscal year to date (July through March), TEU volume is up just over two percent in Charleston, while container volume for the quarter (January through March) increased seven percent from the same quarter last year. A number of drivers, including a new Europe service with APL, were said to be drivers of this growth.
“There is no turning back on the big ship trend, and we’re seeing how harbor depth and access can influence carriers’ service decisions,” Newsome said, referring to Charleston’s deep shipping channels and post-45 harbor deepening project, which is currently underway.
At the same time, the SCPA’s non-containerized cargo figures remain strong, reflecting the agency’s cargo diversification strategy. The Port of Charleston handled 111,236 pier tons of non-containerized freight in March, up 53 percent from the same month last year.
BMW export vehicles and other roll-on/roll-off cargo handled at Charleston’s Columbus Street Terminal saw their best month since March 2008. The SCPA completed last year a $23-million improvement project at that terminal to support the growth of non-containerized cargo.
In the Port of Georgetown, pier tons were up 37 percent, with 34,119 tons handled across the docks. Petroleum coke and bulk cement continue to be the largest commodities handled at the port.