SC Ports Authority Posts 10 Percent Container Growth in 2015 - Global Trade Magazine
  January 29th, 2016 | Written by

SC Ports Authority Posts 10 Percent Container Growth in 2015

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  • SCPA CEO Jim Newsome: "Successful recruitment of discretionary cargo was an important driver of volumes.”
  • SCPA CEO Jim Newsome: We expect flat to very modest growth due to weakness in overseas markets.
  • Because of the Panama Canal expansion delay, Charleston will not see significant new ship deployments until 2017.

The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) posted a 10-percent growth in containers in 2015, a year highlighted by strong volumes and significant progress on the harbor deepening project.

SCPA handled 144,718 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in December, pushing total container volume to 1.97 million in 2015.

As measured in pier containers, or total boxes handled, SCPA’s two container terminals moved 1.12 million boxes in 2015, an increase of 9.54 percent over 1.02 million containers handled last year.

“Our 10 percent TEU volume growth for the 2015 calendar year is outstanding,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. “Successful recruitment of discretionary cargo has been an important driver of volumes, as well as continued strength of the automotive sector. However, looking ahead to the second half of our 2016 fiscal year, we expect flat to very modest growth due largely to weakness in overseas markets. Because of the Panama Canal expansion delay, we will not see new ship deployments of significance until fiscal year 2017.”

Non-containerized cargo business volume was strong in 2015, with 1.34 million pier tons handled during the year. Finished vehicle volume grew 13 percent year over year, with 268,964 vehicles crossing SCPA docks in 2015.

The inland port handled 7,824 rail moves in December, more than double the facility’s December volume last year. The facility’s rail volumes grew 76.5 percent during its second full calendar year of operation, with 75,111 total rail moves completed in 2015.

In addition to strong volume growth during the year, Newsome also highlighted the successful progress of the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project. The project recently cleared a milestone with the Record of Decision, the formal recommendation of the project to Congress for authorization.

SCPA recently added a new regular shipping service, Atlantic Ro-Ro Carriers (ARRC), to its vessel calls at Columbus Street Terminal. The first ARRC vessel arrived on January 8, handling approximately 6,000 tons of import cargo.

ARRC specializes in handling freight for multiple business segments, including container, breakbulk, rolling stock and project cargo. Charleston is an addition to ARRC’s Balt-Atlantic service, which utilizes multiple vessels to connect St. Petersburg, Russia and other North Europe ports with the U.S. East Coast.

“ARRC’s multi-purpose capabilities are an exciting addition to SCPA’s breakbulk opportunities that further enhance our connection with North Europe,” said Paul McClintock, SCPA Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We’re pleased to welcome their regular calls.”

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