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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
12/14/2000

Monthly News Brief

ALTERNATIVES STUDIED - Yesterday the Ports Authority's Board heard answers to several questions on port expansion alternatives. At last month's Board meeting, three options were evaluated -- a portion of the Cooper River side of Daniel Island, a site in Jasper County on the Savannah River, and a portion of the former Charleston Naval Base. It became evident that port development on the Navy Base, although possibly less expensive, would take much longer to develop, would provide less capacity and would only address near-term needs. On Wednesday a consultant reported that the Navy Base option comes down to a question of cost and time. The city of North Charleston, which has zoning authority over the base, recently unified in its opposition to a container facility at the base. Also last month, updated forecasts showed that new terminal capacity is required within six to eight years.

BRIDGE FUNDING - Also at Wednesday's Board meeting, State Sen. Arthur Ravenel requested that the Ports Authority contribute financially to construction of a new Cooper River Bridge.

CRANE REPAIRS - The Authority Board also authorized $2.3 million for Konecranes America, Inc. to perform structural and electrical repairs to three IHI container cranes. In October the Board approved $2.8 million in repairs to two IHI container cranes, one at North Charleston and one at the Wando Welch Terminal.

CRANE RELOCATION - At the December meeting the Ports Authority Board approved a $696,000 contract for Noell Crane and Service, Inc. to relocate one IHI post-panamax container crane to the North Charleston Terminal. This is the fourth crane relocation from the Wando Welch Terminal following the delivery of four new super-post-panamax Paceco/Hyundai container cranes in recent months and is the remaining phase of the crane relocation plan. In October, a contract was approved to move three Canron cranes from the Wando -- two to North Charleston and one to Columbus Street Terminal.

EXPORTS REBOUND - November container volume through the Port of Charleston was up 5% from the same month last year, and loaded export containers reached their highest level in five months. The number of loaded export containers increased 9% from the previous month, reaching 55,709 20-foot equivalent units in November. While exports have not returned to last fall's record-setting marks, the resurgence is positive news. Loaded imports remained constant with the previous month, and are up double digits on the fiscal year. Charleston's container business increased 8% through the first five months of the fiscal year, rising from 638,902 in last year's July-to-November period to 687,792 TEUs this year.