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  July 26th, 2016 | Written by

South Carolina Ports Authority Posts 2016 Fiscal Year Volume Increase

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  • South Carolina's Inland Port Greer achieved record rail moves in fiscal 2016.
  • Port of Charleston handled highest-ever finished vehicle volume in fiscal 2016.
  • Port of Charleston expects container volumes to increase with upsizing of ships and Panama Canal expansion.

The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) reported growth of container volume and breakbulk tonnage at its Charleston facilities and significant increases in rail volume at Inland Port Greer during the 2016 fiscal year that ended June 30.

SCPA handled 1.9 million TEU during FY2016, an increase of 1.4 percent over the previous year. As measured in pier containers, or box volume, nearly 1.1 million boxes moved across the docks of the port’s container terminals in FY2016.

“Container volumes this fiscal year were quite moderate compared to last year, reflective of uncertainty and a general slowing of the world economy,” said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome. “However, import loaded volumes were five percent ahead of last year, marking a bright spot in volume development, and export loaded volumes were flat despite challenging markets.”

The port’s non-containerized cargo segments performed well. Charleston breakbulk tonnage exceeded planned volumes by 33 percent with 901,974 pier tons handled during the fiscal year. Roll-on/roll-off cargo within the breakbulk sector grew significantly. SCPA achieved the highest finished vehicle volume ever handled at the Columbus Street Terminal. In FY2016, 274,426 vehicles moved across SCPA docks, an increase of eight percent over the previous year.

Inland Port Greer achieved a record year of volumes, with 91,698 rail moves handled during FY2016. The facility’s customer base continues to grow, with 57 percent higher volume this fiscal year compared to last year.

“Looking ahead, the port expects container volumes to increase as a result of the upsizing of ships with the Panama Canal expansion,” said Newsome. “Today, 16 of our 26 weekly container ship services now employ vessels larger than could pass through the Panama Canal prior to expansion.”

“Our port has made significant progress on key projects this fiscal year, including harbor deepening, Leatherman Terminal construction, and the Wando Terminal wharf project,” said Pat McKinney, SCPA Board Chairman.

The SCPA board recently authorized a $23.6 million purchase for two new ship-to-shore cranes for the Wando Terminal to serve the growing size of vessels calling Charleston. The cranes are scheduled to be commissioned at the end of 2017 in conjunction with the completion of the Wando wharf strengthening project. Next month, the terminal will receive the first delivery of larger cranes to be commissioned for use this fall.

The board also approved the purchase of 12 rubber-tired gantry cranes for the Wando Terminal and 12 empty container handlers for Wando, North Charleston Terminal, and Inland Port Greer.

“We are well positioned to meet the changing needs of our industry,” McKinney added, “and remain focused on increasing growth while completing the necessary improvements to our facilities and infrastructure to be competitive into the future.”