Six Percent Container Growth, $248 Million in Capital Expenditures Projected for SC Ports Authority
The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) Board of Directors has adopted a financial plan for the 2017 fiscal year that includes six percent pier container growth, $226.1 million operating revenues, $40.8 million operating earnings, and capital expenditures of $248 million.
The plan projects box volume of 1.175 million during FY2017, a six percent increase from the 1.105 million boxes SCPA is expected to handle during its current fiscal year. Strong growth at Inland Port Greer is also planned, with rail moves expected to increase 23 percent over FY2016 projected totals.
Planned operating revenues of $226.1 million for FY2017 reflect a seven-percent increase above the current fiscal year, which are expected to reach $211.8 million when the period ends June 30.
“The FY2017 plan reflects continued success of our state port system,” said SCPA Board Chairman Pat McKinney. “The year ahead is an exciting time for our port and state, with construction on our harbor deepening project to 52 feet to begin, as well as significant progress on the Leatherman Terminal and other improvements to existing terminals expected. We are well-positioned to meet the evolving landscape of the U.S. port industry.”
The board approved the highest capital plan in the SCPA’s history, with expenditures projected $82.4 million higher than FY2016. SCPA will invest $93.7 million in site development and related expenses for construction of the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal, expected to open in late 2019. Other primary capital expenditures planned include $78.9 million in upgrades to the Wando Welch Terminal, $16 million in surface improvements to the Columbus Street Terminal and $5.1 million for the development of a second inland port in Dillon, South Carolina.
“Our volumes this fiscal year have flattened when compared to FY2015, and although we expect growth to continue to keep pace above the U.S. port market average, the plan for FY2017 reflects modest increases in pier container volumes,” said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome. “We currently handle 11 weekly post-panamax vessel calls and expect FY2017 to be marked by an increased frequency of big-ship calls once the Panama Canal expansion opens and multiple services upgrade the size of vessels deployed to Charleston.”
SCPA reported a 2.3 percent increase in twenty foot-equivalent unit (TEU) volume fiscal year to date, handling 1.79 million TEUs between July and May. SCPA moved 177,865 TEUs last month.
As measured in total box volume, SCPA handled 100,774 containers in May. Since the fiscal year began in July, SCPA has moved over one-million containers across the docks of its Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals.
Non-containerized cargo volume at the Port of Charleston was strong in May, with 85,413 pier tons handled. Charleston’s breakbulk volume is nearly 34 percent ahead of planned levels, with 831,872 tons moved fiscal year to date.
May rail volume was strong at Inland Port Greer, where 8,620 rail moves were handled last month. Fiscal year-to-date rail moves are 62.3 percent above planned levels, with 83,834 lifts since July.