South Carolina Ports See Double-Digit Container Growth
The Port of Charleston generated double-digit container volume gains in March, reporting 14.3-percent fiscal-year-to-date growth of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) over the same period last year.
In March, the port handled 171,113 TEUs, an increase of 13.7 percent compared to 150,516 TEUs moved during the same month last year. Fiscal year to date, the port has handled nearly 1.4 million TEUs, according to the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA).
“March volumes reflect the end of a very strong quarter, and I’m confident the port will handle over 1 million boxes by the end of our fiscal year in June,” says South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) CEO Jim Newsome. “We’re seeing broad-based growth across all sectors, particularly refrigerated cargo and automotive manufacturing.”
‘Discretionary cargo’ volumes, says Newsome, are also up, “with the growth of retail imports and agricultural exports reflected in a nearly 25-percent increase in rail moves last month.” Discretionary cargo is freight that doesn’t have to move through any particular port, as it isn’t being shipped to a consignee close to a specific port.
SCPA INLAND PORT SEES RECORD VOLUMES; CHARLESTON HANDLES HEAVY ENERGY PROJECT IMPORT MOVE
The SCPA’s Inland Port handled 5,187 rail moves in March, achieving its highest volumes since the facility opening in November 2013.
Fiscal year to date, the Inland Port has handled 40,313 rail moves and is 52 percent ahead of planned volumes. The South Carolina Inland Port opened in October 2013, extending Charleston’s reach 212 miles inland to the intermodal rail yards at Greer, S.C.
In January, Charleston handled one of its heaviest energy project moves to date, a 1.5 million pound Westinghouse Electric Company steam generator for the South Carolina Electric & Gas Company’s nuclear power plant expansion near Columbia, SC.
The generator was off-loaded from a heavy-lift ship berthed at the port’s Columbus Street Terminal directly onto a specialty railcar designed to transport heavy and oversized loads.
The 36-axle railcar, among the largest of its type in the world, transported the equipment from Charleston to the V.C. Summer site in Jenkinsville, S.C., where two Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear power plants are under construction.
SCPA says it will handle three additional steam generators of the same size over the next year.