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176 Concord Street, P.O. Box 22287, Charleston, SC 29413-2287
Contact: Erin Dhand, Manager, Corporate Communications and Community Affairs
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SPA Board Approves Fiscal Year 2005 Budget
Plan Calls for 6% Growth, Expense Reduction, $50 Million in Capital Projects

Charleston, SC - The Board of the South Carolina State Ports Authority has approved the fiscal year 2005 financial plan, which calls for a 6% increase in business and a number of cost cutting measures.

Under the plan for fiscal year 2005, the Authority’s operating revenues are expected to increase by $7.5 million to $122 million. Direct operating expense will remain flat and administrative expense will decline 8%. The decline in administrative expense reflects voluntary reductions in staff due to early retirement, as well as general expense reductions and cost control.

“We are scrutinizing every process and every cost at every level,” said Bernard S. Groseclose Jr., president and CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority. “The Ports Authority’s employees are the best at what they do, and I’m confident that we can make this aggressive plan happen.”

Over the past two years, demand for the Ports Authority’s services has increased. Business has jumped 14% in two years, and since 1994 the Authority has doubled container volume. But as the Ports Authority handled more cargo through the same space, expenses increased.

“In developing the fiscal 2005 financial plan, the Board challenged management,” said Board Chairman Harry J. Butler of Georgetown. “We challenged management to streamline and pare all aspects of capital, operational and administrative expenses, while maintaining the excellent levels of service that our customers have come to expect.”

These efforts resulted in a financial plan that increases cash flow by about 16% when compared to the current year’s projected results and increases operating earnings by 31%.

“As we look to the future, the Authority must optimize current facilities while building for the long-term,” said Butler. “In doing so, we’ll have to provide the necessary cash flow. That means we have to stay as lean as we can. The Authority’s fiscal 2005 budget is a step in the right direction.”

The fiscal year 2005 capital plan calls for nearly $50 million in projects necessary to support the growing volume. Included are $13.6 million for two new container cranes and $11 million in dock and storage yard improvements. Container stacking cranes add another $4.9 million, and other capital projects and equipment total $19.5 million.

“The Ports Authority is the state’s most powerful economic development engine,” Butler said. “We must grow the port and satisfy our customers in a cost-effective manner. The ultimate goal is to make careful use of the people’s money for the good of the State of South Carolina.”

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