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SC Ports Reports 7% Growth in June Cargo, Sets Records Across Operations

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SC Ports Reports 7% Growth in June Cargo, Sets Records Across Operations

South Carolina Ports concluded fiscal year 2024 on a high note with a 7% increase in container volumes at the Port of Charleston in June.

Read also: SC Ports Celebrates Graduation of 31 Port Ambassadors

In June, SC Ports efficiently managed 218,115 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) and 121,267 pier containers, marking the second highest June on record. Loaded imports rose by 10%, and loaded exports by 5%, reflecting robust activity in the Southeast market.

“The Southeast market is booming, with a growing population driving imports and new manufacturing investments spurring exports,” said SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin. “South Carolina Ports is well-positioned for this growth with a 52-foot-deep harbor, efficient terminals, new capacity on the horizon, and an impressive inland port network.”

Over fiscal year 2024, SC Ports and the broader maritime community handled nearly 2.5 million TEUs and 1.4 million pier containers, slightly down from the previous fiscal year. Despite ongoing toe wall construction, the Wando Welch Terminal achieved a record year, moving over 1.2 million containers.

“SC Ports works alongside our maritime partners to provide highly productive port service and fluidity in the Southeast supply chains,” Melvin said. “We remain focused on providing the operational excellence that our customers have come to expect from us, while proactively investing in port capacity to efficiently handle their growth.”

Inland Port Greer and Inland Port Dillon also saw record cargo volumes in fiscal year 2024, with a combined 230,409 containers moved on and off trains at the rail-served inland ports, a 24% year-over-year increase.

“Our rail-served inland ports have seen tremendous growth this past year as more customers move cargo by rail,” Melvin said. “We are expanding Inland Port Greer and building the rail-served Navy Base Intermodal Facility to provide more rail capacity in the Southeast port market and further support our customers’ supply chains.”

Inland Port Greer handled 187,638 containers in fiscal year 2024, marking a 28% increase from the prior year. Greer also set a record for June with 16,450 containers handled, an 11% increase from last year.

Inland Port Dillon experienced significant cargo growth in fiscal year 2024, handling 42,771 containers, a 9% increase and the first time it surpassed 40,000 rail moves in a fiscal year.

Additionally, SC Ports served as a crucial supply chain partner for major automakers in South Carolina, handling 210,817 vehicles in fiscal year 2024, a 12% increase from the previous year.

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SC Ports Celebrates Graduation of 31 Port Ambassadors

South Carolina Ports recently celebrated the graduation of 31 professionals from the 2023-2024 Port Ambassador program. These participants, hailing from various sectors across the state, engaged in day-long educational sessions throughout the year to gain an in-depth understanding of SC Ports’ operations and their critical role in the Southeast supply chain and South Carolina’s port-dependent businesses.

Read also: South Carolina Ports Welcomes Its Largest Class of Port Ambassadors for 2023-2024

“When our Port Ambassadors witness cargo being loaded and unloaded at our terminals, and hear firsthand how South Carolina farmers, retailers, and manufacturers rely on our efficient port system to move their products globally, it underscores the vital importance of SC Ports to our state’s economy,” said SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin.

Throughout the year, Port Ambassadors attended the annual State of the Port address, interacted with SC Ports leadership and customers, and toured SC Ports’ waterfront terminals and Inland Ports Greer and Dillon. This year’s class was the first to tour Inland Port Dillon, which has seen continuous growth in rail moves since its opening in 2018. Leaders from CSX, Harbor Freight Tools, C&M Grain, and Palmetto Grain Brokerage shared insights on how SC Ports’ presence in the Pee Dee region has facilitated business expansion and improved goods movement efficiency.

“Being a Port Ambassador opened my eyes to the significant impact of SC Ports, not just in Charleston, but throughout South Carolina,” said Liz Griffith, Chief Operations Officer of the International Transportation Innovation Center in Greenville, SC. “SC Ports is essential for the efficient movement of imports and exports across various industries, from automotive to agriculture. It’s clear why so many companies choose to establish themselves in South Carolina.”

The Port Ambassador Program aims to enhance public understanding of SC Ports’ economic contributions. Since its inception in 2016, the program has graduated over 190 participants.

“Our Port Ambassadors gain valuable knowledge of our port system, which they can share within their communities,” said Jordi Yarborough, SC Ports’ Vice President of Statewide Stakeholders and Local Government Engagement. “Even after graduation, we maintain communication with our ambassadors to keep them informed about our strategic plans and investments that support port growth.”

2023-2024 Port Ambassadors:

– Trent Acker, Duke Energy Carolinas
– Tony Allen, S.C. Department of Commerce
– Quinn Balderson, Choate Construction Company
– Jessica Bright, Emerge South Carolina
– George Druyos, Berkeley Habitat for Humanity
– Barnwell Fishburne, Fishburne & Company Development Corporation, SC Department of Transportation
– Edward Frazier, SC Treasurer’s Office
– Anthony Gibson, Sumter City Council, Grace Cathedral Ministries
– Hamilton Grant, Grant Business Advisors
– Therese Griffin, Dominion Energy South Carolina
– Liz Griffith, International Transportation Innovation Center
– Taylor Grooms, Steinberg Law Firm
– Natalie Ham, Charleston County
– Mark Harmon, Maynard-Nexsen
– Tim Harper, Dillon County
– Rick Havekost, RDBP, Inc., Mickey Finn’s
– Bill Hearn, Dorchester County, William Hearn Law Firm
– Nikki Huber, Bridge Public Strategy Group
– Kristen Lanier, Terracon Consultants, Inc.
– Rob Lapin, Trinity Partners
– Amanda Loveday, NP Strategy
– Kelly Moore, SC Department of Transportation
– Ken Nagel, Thomas & Hutton
– Mike Nickel, Choate Construction Company
– Sergey Ponomarov, The Citadel
– Alison Raffety, Mercedes-Benz Vans
– Dawn Robinson, Pinnacle Financial Partners
– Amy Sartain, SC Council for Competitiveness
– Jessica Takach, United Community Bank
– Dillon Swayngim, Colliers International
– Eric Woods, Palmetto Grain Brokerage

South Carolina Ports Propel Midlands Economy with a $22.3 Billion Impact

South Carolina Ports play a pivotal role in the economic vitality of the Midlands region, generating an impressive $22.3 billion in economic impact annually. This constitutes a significant quarter of the overall $87 billion impact that SC Ports have across the entire state, as revealed by a recent study conducted by Dr. Joseph Von Nessen, a research economist and professor at the University of South Carolina. The latest data indicates a noteworthy 43% increase in economic impact in the Midlands since the last study in 2019.

SC Ports’ contribution goes beyond the Port of Charleston, according to Barbara Melvin, President, and CEO of SC Ports. The port actively supports various industries in the Midlands, including advanced manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and paper production. By facilitating the movement of goods for both large corporations and small businesses, SC Ports cements valuable relationships with customers, delivering tangible economic benefits to the residents of the Midlands.

The impact is felt in job creation, with SC Ports directly and indirectly supporting over 67,000 jobs in the Midlands, contributing to a total labor income of $4.5 billion. Bill Stern, SC Ports Board Chairman, emphasizes the port’s significance as a crucial economic engine for the state, attracting world-class businesses that result in well-paying jobs and opportunities in the Midlands.

On a broader scale, SC Ports operations play a vital role in South Carolina’s economy, supporting a staggering 260,000 jobs statewide. Approximately 1 in 9 jobs in South Carolina is directly or indirectly linked to the operations of SC Ports. Dr. Joseph Von Nessen underscores the crucial link between the state’s economic success and the continued growth of SC Ports, as port operations attract businesses, generate substantial economic impact, and provide employment opportunities for thousands of South Carolinians.

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South Carolina Ports Accelerates Rail Expansion for Seamless Supply Chain Connectivity

South Carolina Ports is making strategic investments in its rail capabilities to foster growth in the Southeast, with construction underway at the Navy Base Intermodal Facility. Scheduled to open in July 2025, this near-dock, rail-served cargo yard aims to expedite goods to market, bolster port capacity, and elevate overall service quality.

The intermodal yard will be served by both Norfolk Southern and CSX, establishing a direct link between SC Ports’ Charleston port terminals and rail-connected inland ports in Greer and Dillon. This connectivity extends to markets in the Southeast and Midwest, enhancing the fluidity and reliability of the supply chain.

Key features of the facility include 78,000 linear feet of railroad track, six rail-mounted gantry cranes facilitating container movements between CSX and Norfolk Southern trains, and a one-mile dedicated drayage road for efficient cargo transport to and from Leatherman Terminal. Additionally, a future barge will facilitate container transportation between the Leatherman and Wando Welch terminals.

Supported by $550 million in state funding, these critical infrastructure projects aim to accommodate a 1 million lift capacity and handle trains exceeding 14,000 feet. The rail-served cargo yard is poised to play a pivotal role in streamlining the movement of goods along the U.S. East Coast.

SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin expressed gratitude for the state’s support, emphasizing that these investments will empower port-dependent businesses, create jobs across the state, and enhance the overall success of the supply chain.

In addition to the Navy Base Intermodal Facility, SC Ports is extending its commitment to rail expansion by investing in the expansion of Inland Port Greer. This expansion will enable the inland port to handle longer trains and accommodate a 50% increase in cargo capacity. Inland Ports Greer and Dillon demonstrated robust performance, handling a combined 19,232 containers in November, reflecting a significant 48% year-over-year increase.

While container volumes experienced a slight decline in November, SC Ports demonstrated strength in the vehicle sector, with 21,821 vehicles crossing its docks. Vehicles are up 16% fiscal-year-to-date, showcasing the port’s agility and flexibility in serving the Southeast market.

As South Carolina Ports continues to fortify its rail infrastructure, these initiatives are set to significantly enhance supply chain efficiency and reliability across the U.S. East Coast.

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SC Ports Boosts Holiday Giving with $25,000 Contribution to Lowcountry Food Bank

In the spirit of holiday generosity, SC Ports is making a meaningful impact by donating $25,000 to the Lowcountry Food Bank. The charitable organization, catering to over 200,000 individuals annually, can provide up to five meals per dollar donated.

SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin emphasized the importance of extending economic benefits beyond daily operations and directly into the community. This substantial donation aims to support the Lowcountry Food Bank’s mission in combating hunger and making a direct, positive impact on thousands of people in need.

The Lowcountry Food Bank, which distributed 33 million meals to over 200,000 residents in the previous year, plays a vital role in ensuring equitable access to healthy food for the community. SC Ports’ ongoing support aligns with the organization’s commitment to providing relief to the most vulnerable residents facing economic hardships.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that SC Ports has contributed to the Lowcountry Food Bank, showcasing the company’s dedication to fostering community well-being during the holiday season and beyond.

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SC Ports Graduates 2022-2023 Port Ambassadors Class

South Carolina Ports congratulates 30 delegates for completing the 2022-2023 Port Ambassador Program, which provides participants a deep understanding of the connection between South Carolina Ports and South Carolina’s thriving business community.

The yearlong Port Ambassador Program immerses participants in port operations through educational sessions and tours of oceanside terminals, inland ports and advanced manufacturers around the state. Throughout the year, ambassadors heard from Governor Henry McMaster, legislators, SC Ports’ teammates, business leaders and port customers.

“When Port Ambassadors spend time on our port terminals, they see firsthand how SC Ports moves cargo for manufacturers, retailers, healthcare companies, farmers and small businesses,” SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin said. “Port Ambassadors understand that having a world-class port in South Carolina drives economic growth and creates opportunities throughout our state.”

The Port Ambassador Program is designed to increase public awareness and educate community leaders on SC Ports’ operations, statewide impacts, infrastructure projects and economic impact. Since the program’s inception in 2016, more than 160 ambassadors have graduated.

“Our Port Ambassador Program provides a unique opportunity to see how a world-class port operates and how SC Ports makes a $63.4 billion economic impact in South Carolina each year,” said Jordi Yarborough, SC Ports’ Senior Vice President of Statewide Stakeholders and Local Government Engagement. “We were thrilled to have such an impressive and diverse group of professionals for our sixth class of port ambassadors.”

2022-2023 Port Ambassadors

  • Pat Black, Chairman, Calhoun County Economic Development Commission, Cameron, SC
  • John Clark, Partner, The Clark Law Firm, Sumter, SC
  • Leslie Clark, Vice President of Operations, Carolinas AGC, Lexington, SC
  • Dr. Delores Dacosta, Executive Director, SC Commission for Minority Affairs, Columbia, SC
  • Rick Danner, Mayor of Greer, Greer, SC
  • Cashion Drolet, Chief Advocacy Officer, Historic Charleston Foundation, Charleston, SC
  • Kimberlyn Davis, KD Marketing Group, John’s Island, SC
  • Barron Ervin, President, Ervin Engineering, Florence, SC
  • Dewey Evans, Senior Associate, Site Selection Group, Greenville, SC
  • Brooks Hearn, Senior Public Relations Manager, Chernoff Newman, Summerville, SC
  • Bruce Greenberg, Commercial Real Estate Broker, Trinity Partners, Columbia, SC
  • Emily Heflin, Director of Business Development, MAU, Greenville, SC
  • Jerome Heyward, North Charleston Council Member and Mayor Pro Temp, City of North Charleston, North Charleston, SC
  • Kaala Maple, Commissioner, SC Commission for Minority Affairs, Columbia, SC
  • Jack Jamison, Principle and Broker-in-Charge, RealtyLink, Greenville, SC
  • James T. “Jim” McCain, Jr., Sumter County Council Chairman, Sumter, SC
  • Richie Murray, Partner and Realtor, Charter One Realty and Marketing, Hilton Head, SC
  • Rob Perry, Chief Engineer for Bridges, SCDOT, Columbia, SC
  • Joannie Nickel, Legislative & Public Policy Advocate, Municipal Association of SC, Columbia, SC
  • Matt Pickard, Vice President – Investments, InLight, Charleston, SC
  • Ashley M. Powell, Executive Director, Southeast Crescent Regional Commission (SCRC), Summerville, SC
  • Daniel Prohaska, President and CEO, Lions Vision Services, Columbia, SC
  • Mark Sweatman, Chief of Government Relations & Senior Advisor to the Board, MUSC, Columbia, SC
  • Brian Symmes, VP Government Relations – State, McGuireWoods Consulting, Columbia, SC
  • John Truluck, Director of Economic Development, Dorchester County Economic Development, Summerville, SC
  • John Wall, Counsel, Burr & Forman LLP, Columbia, SC
  • Marshall West, Senior Real Estate Appraiser, Compass South Appraisals, Berkeley County Council, Pinopolis, SC
  • Charlton “Chuck” Whipple, VP, Director of Business Development, ECS Southeast, LLP, Lexington, SC
  • Michael Wood, Principle, Asset Integration Consultants, Summerville, SC
  • Jonathan Yarborough, Director, Government Affairs & Economic Development, Dominion Energy, South Carolina, Columbia, SC

 

SC

SC Ports Sees Volumes Trending up in April

South Carolina Ports saw cargo volumes ticking up in April, buoyed by the strength of the Southeast market.

Retail importers and advanced manufacturers are investing billions to establish and expand operations in South Carolina. These port-dependent businesses benefit from access to a well-run port system.

In April, SC Ports moved 214,101 TEUs (twenty-foot-equivalent container units) and 119,572 pier containers, which account for containers of any size.

While volumes are down 19% year-over-year as consumers continue to buy fewer goods compared to last year’s massive import boom, volumes trended up 11% month-over-month.

Thus far in fiscal year 2023, SC Ports and the maritime community handled 2.18 million TEUs and nearly 1.21 million pier containers. Fiscal year volumes are down about 9% from the same time a year prior.

SC Ports’ two rail-served inland ports in Greer and Dillon handled a combined 17,177 rail moves in April, up nearly 15% year-over-year, with Dillon achieving a record April with 3,752 rail moves.

SC Ports also handled 12,957 vehicles and 25,942 cruise passengers last month.

About South Carolina Ports Authority

South Carolina Ports owns and operates marine terminals at the Port of Charleston and two rail-served inland ports in Greer and Dillon. As the 8th largest U.S. container port, SC Ports connects port-dependent businesses throughout the Southeast and beyond to global markets. SC Ports proactively invests in infrastructure ahead of demand to provide reliable service, efficient operations, cargo capacity, an expansive rail network and the deepest harbor on the East Coast at 52 feet. SC Ports is a vital economic engine for South Carolina, with port operations supporting 1 in 10 jobs statewide. Learn more: scspa.com.

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SC Ports Completes Infrastructure Project While Maintaining Fluidity

Fifteen ship-to-shore cranes now stand 155 feet above the wharf deck at Wando Welch Terminal, efficiently working mega container ships at the Port of Charleston.

The fifteenth and final crane was recently moved into position along the waterfront. With five cranes to a berth, Wando Welch Terminal is now even more capable of efficiently working three 14,000-TEU vessels simultaneously.

The new ship-to-shore cranes have 155 feet of lift height and the ability to reach out over 22 containers to work the biggest ships calling the East Coast. Crane operators efficiently move containers on and off ships, helping to keep the supply chain fluid.

The cranes are a key part of SC Ports’ $500 million investment to modernize Wando Welch Terminal. The multi-year project enhanced capacity and operations with new container-handling equipment, a modernized container yard and refrigerated cargo yard, improved traffic patterns and IT systems, a strengthened wharf, and an on-terminal transload facility for mega retailers.

Maintaining fluidity

In addition to investing in port infrastructure, SC Ports continues to deploy creative solutions for the supply chain.

SC Ports has extended Sunday gate hours for motor carriers through at least peak season, given berth priority to vessels taking out more cargo, significantly improved rail dray dwell times, hired more than 150 people in operations to handle the influx of cargo, and launched a port-owned and port-operated chassis pool.

These efforts have helped SC Ports maintain fluidity. There have been no vessels waiting since early May, though supply chain challenges continue along the East Coast.

SC Ports handled 216,097 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) and 119,872 pier containers at Wando Welch Terminal, North Charleston Terminal and Leatherman Terminal in July.

SC Ports moved 21,034 vehicles at Columbus Street Terminal in July, a 36% increase year-over-year. Inland Port Greer and Inland Port Dillon reported combined 11,383 rail moves in July.

About South Carolina Ports Authority
South Carolina Ports Authority, established by the state’s General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport and intermodal facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer. As an economic development engine for the state, Port operations facilitate 225,000 statewide jobs and generate nearly $63.4 billion in annual economic activity. SC Ports is soon to be home to the deepest harbor on the U.S. East Coast at 52 feet. SC Ports is an industry leader in delivering speed-to-market, seamless processes and flexibility to ensure reliable operations, big ship handling, efficient market reach and environmental responsibility. Please visit www.scspa.com to learn more about SC Ports.
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SC Ports Reports All-time Container Record in March SC Ports Deploying Creative Supply Chain Solutions

South Carolina Ports reported an all-time container record in March, marking the 13th consecutive month of cargo records at the Port of Charleston.
“As we continue to handle record volumes on our terminals, SC Ports is working alongside our maritime community and logistics partners to navigate the many challenges felt across the entire supply chain,” SC Ports CEO Jim Newsome said. “We are responding to customers’ needs as we make progress on reducing the backlog.”
Strong U.S. consumer appetite for retail goods continues to drive record cargo levels, with imports up 16% year-over-year in March.
SC Ports handled 264,334 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) at Wando Welch Terminal, North Charleston Terminal and Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal in March, up 6% from last year. SC Ports has moved 2.14 million TEUs thus far in fiscal year 2022, from July through March, up 15% fiscal year-over-year.
SC Ports handled 145,415 pier containers — which accounts for containers of any size — in March, up 5% from last year. Thus far in fiscal year 2022, SC Ports has moved 1.19 million pier containers, up nearly 15% from the same period the year prior.
SC Ports is responding to the record volumes and ongoing supply chain challenges in real-time with a variety of efforts, such as providing Sunday hours for motor carriers and selective term leasing of the port’s new chassis.
Strategic investments are also key. SC Ports has hired more than 150 people in operations and invested more than $2 billion into port infrastructure. The new Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal adds a much-needed berth to the East Coast port market.
At a time when the supply chain is seeing unprecedented cargo volumes, Leatherman Terminal’s capacity is not being fully utilized by USMX member ocean carriers, pending resolution of the ongoing case in front of the NLRB.
“We will continue investing in strategic port infrastructure and deploying creative solutions to ensure fluidity for our customers,” Newsome said. “We are very grateful to our dedicated SC Ports team and the entire maritime and logistics community. Thank you to the men and women working so hard to keep freight moving for the Southeast supply chain.”
SC Ports also handled 21,809 vehicles at Columbus Street Terminal and recorded 17,413 rail moves at Inland Ports Greer and Dillon in March.
SC Ports reported 18,409 cruise passengers in March, which is the highest month thus far in this fiscal year. Cruise operations resumed in late December after a nearly two-year hiatus.
About South Carolina Ports Authority
South Carolina Ports Authority, established by the state’s General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport and intermodal facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer. As an economic development engine for the state, Port operations facilitate 225,000 statewide jobs and generate nearly $63.4 billion in annual economic activity. SC Ports is soon to be home to the deepest harbor on the U.S. East Coast at 52 feet. SC Ports is an industry leader in delivering speed-to-market, seamless processes and flexibility to ensure reliable operations, big ship handling, efficient market reach and environmental responsibility. Please visit www.scspa.com to learn more about SC Ports.