New Articles

SCPA’s Jim Newsome Recognized Among DC Velocity Logistics Rainmakers

SCPA’s Jim Newsome Recognized Among DC Velocity Logistics Rainmakers

South Carolina Ports Authority’s (SCPA) CEO Jim Newsome is known for accomplishing significant logistics and shipping milestones in his role the last nine years including transforming the Port of Charleston to become a top 10 U.S. container port, reaching record volumes in 2019, and overseeing the development of two South Carolina port operations. These are just a few of the successful efforts Newsome can credit for earning him the coveted  DC Velocity Logistics Rainmaker title,  one month before his tenth year with SCPA. He is among eight other U.S. -based logistics professionals aka “rainmakers.”

“Global businesses, both import and export businesses, want to locate near capable ports,” Newsome said in an interview with DC Velocity. “My vision of the Port is to be the preferred port among the top 10 U.S. container ports. We are doing this by providing required port infrastructure in time to handle both anticipated growth and the deployment of big container ships. We want to make sure our Port offers the highest possible reliability in terms of productivity and efficiency.”

Beyond overseeing operations, projects, and breaking records, Newsome’s focus on company culture and workforce development at SCPA was demonstrated earlier this year as the company earned a spot on the Best Places to Work in South Carolina list.

“I have had the good fortune to work for great enterprises that were experiencing significant challenges when I joined them — you might say ‘turnaround’ situations,” Newsome said in the DC Velocity interview. “Developing a committed team of people to successfully address those challenges is what I consider my greatest professional achievement and, along the way, playing the part in the professional development of many of those key people so they could fulfill their career aspirations.”

Newsome’s exemplary leadership to the 700-person team reiterates his knowledge and expertise in the industry and what it takes to create a successful, dynamic team boasting SCPA qualities from safety and security, to adaptability, decisiveness, and enthusiasm.

“Jim Newsome has overseen the most complete and thorough overhaul of an organization that I have ever seen,” University of Tennessee professor Ted Stank said in Newsome’s Rainmaker profile. “Key to this transformation has been Jim’s vision of ports as a critical value node in the integrated end-to-end supply chain.”
Stank has also referred to Newsome as a leader that “defines the term ‘rainmaker.'”

SCPA Picks “Name the Cranes” Contest Winners

South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) gave elementary students in the Greenville County and Spartanburg County school districts the opportunity to select the names for two of their RTG cranes at Inland Port Greer, in addition to earning $500 for their school if selected. Students anonymously submitted a total of 522 names for the contest.

“Our Name the Cranes contest engages students to think creatively and introduces them to Port operations and equipment,” said Mike Stresemann, SCPA’s senior director of crane and equipment maintenance. “It gives students an opportunity to impact port terminals in a real way.”

Adding to dozens of student-named RTG and ship-to-shore cranes, Little Miss Sunshine and South Craneolina were the contest winners submitted by students Haven Ebel and Jack Sibley-Jones of Blythe Academy of Languages in Greenville.

“South Carolina Ports Authority strives to have an innovative and diverse workforce that thinks outside the box. Our Name the Cranes contest creates a connection between the Port of Charleston and South Carolina students, helping them to envision a career in the maritime industry,” S.C. Ports Authority COO Barbara Melvin said. “We also really enjoy seeing the creative names that students suggest for our cranes.”
The 85-foot tall Little Miss Sunshine and South Craneolina both stand at 85 feet tall and join a family of named cranes including: Daddy Long Legs, Craneous Maximus, Cranebob Bluepants, Heavy Metal and Bluesaurus Rex . 

 

SCPA: Success & Growth for Fiscal Year 2019

.Fiscal year 2019 has proven successful for South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) as it set record volumes at the Port of Charleston while boasting the largest annual percentage of containerized volumes by intermodal container rail in port history, thanks to the The RapidRail program. The program ensures seamless connectivity between rail yards and maritime terminals and supported the 330,000 rail moves  reported for the port for FY19.

The Port reported an overall annual increase of pier containers handled by 9.1 percent following confirmation of June’s handled total of 112,988 containers. There were 2.4 million TEUs reported that were handled from June 2018 through July, confirming an 8.8% increase in annual TEU container volume.

“SCPA’s container business had a record-setting fiscal year and our inland ports in Greer and Dillon continue to see record growth year-over-year,” SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome said. “This accomplishment is the result of the entire South Carolina maritime community’s dedication to providing a great product to our customers.”

Inland ports also saw robust numbers, especially for Inland Port Greer which reported FY19 as its busiest year since launching operations in 2013. Inland Port Greer confirmed a total of 143,204 rail moves overall and a 22 percent growth rate from last year. Inland Port Dillon saw 29,580 rail moves during the first year of operating.

“The Southeast remains the best place to be in the port business with a growing population to support imports and a strong manufacturing and automotive presence to boost exports,” Newsome said. “While we expect more modest growth in fiscal 2020, we are optimistic about the future and continue to invest in our infrastructure.”

Source: South Carolina Ports Authority

SCPA Earns Place “Best Places to Work in South Carolina” List

Among 75 companies selected in South Carolina for the 14th annual “Best Places to Work” awards program, South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) earns its place in the category for companies with more than 250 employees in 2019.

“I am proud the Port has been recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina, which is something we strive for every day,” SCPA President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “Our employees contribute to a constantly evolving work environment, ensuring the Port of Charleston is the preferred choice for customers and surpassing 10 monthly cargo volume records in fiscal year 2019. Our employees make our success possible.”

SCPA is responsible for 187,200 statewide jobs while contributing a $53 million impact on the state’s economy each year. Beyond the numbers, SCPA boasts an exemplary company culture where communication and collaboration grow, ensuring maximized efficiencies – all while supporting a values-based culture supportive of employee wellness through offerings including an employee wellness center, fitness center, walking trail, standing desks and a café full of healthy meal options.

“Our new office fosters collaboration, communication and creativity among employees. Our senior managers, terminal employees and office employees can now interact daily, whether they are brainstorming in a conference room or eating lunch together in The Galley,” Newsome said. “Our focus on culture has created an environment where employees excel and business thrives.”

Source: South Carolina Ports Authority

AMERICA’S TOP 50 POWER PORTS

Each year, America’s ports handle millions of twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) containers holding cargo that is worth billions of dollars to the United States economy. These ports serve not only as an entries and exits to the U.S. but as a gateways to the rest of the world. From tax revenue to jobs, our ports are a vital part of the national economy.

While all ports work hard to process cargo quickly and efficiently, some excel above the rest. Whether they have modern equipment, green initiatives or strategic locations, these ports set the bar higher for all others.

1. Port of Los Angeles. With more than 5 million TEUs processed in 2018, the Port of Los Angeles is the No. 1 container port in the country. After breaking its own cargo record in 2017, Los Angeles again increased its TEUs in 2018, going from 4.7 million to 5 million. The port also holds the honor of being the No. 18 port in the world and the top-ranking U.S.-based port on the global list.

2. Port of Long Beach. The second port in the countdown and the second port located in California, the 3,200-acre Port of Long Beach processed more than 4.3 million TEUs in 2018. With nearly 90 percent of the port’s traffic coming from Asia, the Port of Long Beach is one of the top trade gateways with the continent.

3. The Port of New York and New Jersey. The Port of New York and New Jersey earned the No. 3 spot on the list for the second year in a row. Having been operated together by the New York Port Authority since 1948, the unified, bi-state ports comprise the third-largest port in the nation, and the busiest port on the East Coast. In 2018, their TEUs rose from 3.7 million to 4.1 million.

4. Port of Savannah. In 2018, the Port of Savannah grew its TEUs from 2.0 million to 2.2 million. It remains home to the single largest container port in North America and is the overall second-busiest container port in the United States.

5. Port of Houston. In a state where everything is bigger, the Port of Houston is the biggest port in Texas as well as the largest on the Gulf Coast. In 2018, the Port of Houston increased its TEUs from 1.7 million in 2017 to 1.8 million in 2018. This 25-mile port is also the leading breakbulk port in the U.S., processing 52 percent of project cargo on the Gulf Coast.

6. Port of Seattle. The Port of Seattle includes both the marine port, which boasts one of the largest container terminals along the entire West Coast, and Sea-Tac International Airport, which is one of the largest airports in the West as well. Part of the Northwest Seaport Alliance, the Port of Seattle helps generate $4.3 billion a year in business revenues. In 2018, the port raised its TEUs from 1.2 million to 1.5 million.

7. Port of Norfolk. The 567-acre Port of Norfolk, which is the largest terminal in the Virginia Port Authority, processed 1.3 million TEUs in 2018, increasing from 2017’s 1.2 million TEUs.

8. Port of Richmond. Just nine miles from the Golden Gate Bridge, the Port of Richmond is ranked No. 1 in San Francisco Bay for both liquid bulk and automobile tonnage. Spanning 32 miles along the spectacular bay front, Richmond benefits from the vast network of Bay Area highways that surround the port.

9. Port of Cleveland. The third-largest port in the Great Lakes region, the Port of Cleveland is also the first major port of call for ships moving along to the St. Lawrence Seaway, a 2,300 mile span that provides access from the East Coast to more than 100 inland ports. The Port of Cleveland is within an eight-hour drive to half of all American households, businesses and manufacturers.

10. Port of Tacoma. Part of the Northwest Seaport Alliance with the Port of Seattle, the Port of Tacoma has become the fourth-largest container gateway in North America. The port increased its TEUs from 1.2 million to 1.3 million in 2018, and April 2019 was their busiest April ever.

11. Port of Charleston. South Carolina’s Port of Charleston grew from 1.1 million to 1.2 million TEUs in 2018. The port, which already contributes $53 billion in economic impact to the Palmetto State, will soon have the deepest channel on the entire East Coast.

12. Port of Oakland. The fifth-busiest container port in the U.S. still advocates for small business with their Social Responsibility Division (SRD). Founded in 2001, the SRD advocates for small, local businesses as well as any local or new businesses seeking to participate in port opportunities. Oakland’s port grew in TEUs from 978,597 in 2017 to more than 1 million in 2018.

13. Port of St. Louis/Illinois. The Port of St. Louis, which spans 70 miles along both sides of the Mississippi River, is strategically positioned within 500 miles of one-third of the U.S. population. The 17th largest port in the nation includes the Municipal River Terminal, which is the only public general purpose dock in the region west of the Mississippi.

14. Port of Miami. The closest deep-water port to the Panama Canal, PortMiami increased from more than 621,000 TEUs in 2017 to over 750,000 in 2018. The port also hosts 5.5 million cruise passengers each year and is the only port south of the Port of Virginia that can handle fully laden, 14,000-TEU vessels.

15. Port Everglades. Port Everglades remains one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, welcoming 3.8 million cruise and ferry passengers each year. But it’s also the 11th busiest container cargo port in America, having moved 1.1 million TEUs in 2018.

16. The Port of Philadelphia. The 300-year-old PhilaPort is expanding with the addition of two new super Post-Panamax cranes this past March and a fifth new crane scheduled to arrive by this summer’s end. The new additions come as part of the port’s $300 million terminal improvement projects. In an effort to be greener, PhilaPort plans to switch all operations to electricity and end all diesel emissions.

17. Plaquemines Port. Located just 20 miles south of the Port of New Orleans, Plaquemines is the closest port to open water along the Mississippi River. It provides water access to 33 inland states, all in a business friendly environment.

18. Port of Baltimore. The Port of Baltimore is now the No. 1 port on the entire East Coast for roll-on/roll-off cargo (ro/ro), as well as for forestry products. The port supports more than 37,000 direct jobs, with 101,880 other jobs directly related to port activities within the state of Maryland. The port is responsible for $3.3 billion in personal income and $2.6 billion in business revenues.

19. The Port of New Orleans. The fourth-largest port in the country, Port NOLA now generates one-in-five jobs in the state of Louisiana. Meanwhile, Port NOLA businesses pay an average of 41 percent more than the average local salary. Port NOLA also generates more than $100 million in annual revenue across its cargo, industrial real estate, rail and cruise businesses—all without the assistance of tax dollars.

20. Port of San Juan. The Port of San Juan operates of 16 piers in San Juan Bay in Puerto Rico: eight for cruise passengers, eight for cargo. The port includes the only bay on the northern coast of Puerto Rico, which is surrounded by land and used as a safe harbor for ships during hurricane season. The port is home to 6.9 kilometers of berthing space, with 10.2 hectares of storage space.

21. Port of Jacksonville. The Port of Jacksonville is Florida’s largest container port and one of the busiest vehicle-handling ports in the United States. Currently undergoing a harbor deepening project, the port is preparing for the future with brand new state-of-the-art cranes, terminal upgrades and many more improvements.

22. Port of Beaumont. Never heard of the Southeast Texas port? You should have, as it’s the fifth-largest port in the U.S. based on tonnage and the No. 1 strategic military outload port in the world. Beaumont benefits from being in the heart of crude oil country.

23. Port of South Louisiana. The Port of South Louisiana is the largest port in the U.S. in total throughput tonnage. It is also top ranked for both import and total tonnage in the country, as well as being the largest port in the Western Hemisphere, handling nearly 15 percent of all total U.S. exports.

24. The Port of Port Arthur. Located in Port Arthur, Texas, the Port of Port Arthur boasts of being prepared to process any type of breakbulk cargo and can handle any commodity west of the Mississippi River. The port, which underwent a major expansion in 2000, now features updated, in-demand equipment and features.

25. Port of Wilmington. A major produce port, the Port of Wilmington is home to the largest dockside cold storage facility in the U.S. and is the top fresh fruit and juice concentrate port on the continent. It is also the top port for bananas, and the No. 1 port of entry for Moroccan clementines.

26. The Port of Mobile. Dedicated in 1928, the Port of Mobile is the only deep-water port in the state of Alabama and the largest breakbulk forest products port in America. The port contributes $486.9 million in direct and indirect tax impact to Alabama each year and has a total economic value of $22.4 billion.

27. Port of Boston. The largest port in Massachusetts, the port of Boston broke records in 2018 with more than 298,000 TEUs shipped through its Conley Container Terminal. Also known as Massport, the port is responsible for nearly 120,000 jobs both directly and indirectly.

28. Port of Palm Beach. The 18th busiest container port in America, the Port of Palm Beach sees 80 percent of its cargo being exports to the Caribbean Islands. Each year, the port exports 900,000 tons or 100 percent of the sugar produced in the area.

29. Port of Wilmington. The North Carolina port, which is not to be confused with the Port of Wilmington in Delaware, spans 284 acres of land and nine berths. The port boasts more than 1 million square feet of covered storage and is located within 700 miles of more than 70 percent of the U.S. industrial base.

30. Port of Duluth-Superior. The “Bulk Cargo Capital” of the Great Lakes, the Port of Duluth-Superior is the farthest inland freshwater seaport in the U.S., serving as a major connection to Canada. With 49 miles of waterfront space and 20 privately owned docks, the port processes almost 900 vessels each year and 35 million tons of cargo.

31. Port of Detroit. The largest seaport in Michigan, the 80-acre Port of Detroit is the third-largest, steel-handling port in America. The port is home to 29 terminal facilities.

32. Port of Texas City. Situated in the Bay of Galveston, the Port of Texas City is the ninth-largest deepwater port in America—and it will soon be deeper as it is dropping to a 45-foot depth. The Port of Texas City is the fourth-largest port in Texas and is popular for shipping crude oil, chemicals and petroleum.

33. Port of Chicago. The Port of Chicago is an inland port positioned along the Calumet River. The 8,930,000-square-foot port offers 3,000 linear feet of ship berthing. Spanning 1,600 acres, the port also has storage along Lake Calumet and Lake Michigan.

34. Port of Two Harbors. Located along Lake Superior’s northern shore, Minnesota’s Port of Two Harbors is a deep draft commercial harbor. Initially developed as an iron ore processing establishment, today Two Harbors still deals primarily in iron ore and taconite, though they have added timber to their exports.

35. Port of Chester. Located on the west bank of the Delaware River, Pennsylvania’s Port of Chester is situated between PhilaPort and the Port of Wilmington. Privately owned by Penn Terminals, the Port of Chester prides itself on customer service and hard-working employees. The 80-scre port has 300,000 square feet of dry space and 2.85 million cubic feet of reefer space.

36. Port of Gulfport. For more than 300 years, the Port of Gulfport has been a popular spot for vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. Today, the port is the third-largest container port in the Gulf and the second largest importer of green fruit in the U.S. In addition to 6,000 feet of berthing space, the 300-acre deepwater port has 110 acres of open storage, and an additional 400,000 square feet of covered warehouse space.

37. Port of San Diego. The Port of San Diego is home to two terminals that span across 231 acres of land. Equipped to handle everything from temperature-controlled goods and perishables to produce and frozen goods, the port prides itself on specializing in handling high volumes of cold storage. With their streamlined processes, the port moves quickly and efficiently to eliminate waste and keep perishables fresher, longer.

38. Port of Hueneme. California’s Port of Hueneme may not be a household name, but it is earning a name for itself as a faster, less-congested alternative to the two nearest major ports in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Hueneme processes more than $9 billion in cargo annually and produces more than 13,000 jobs for the greater Ventura County area.

39. Port of Tampa Bay. The Port of Tampa Bay is the largest cargo tonnage port in Florida, processing more than 37 million tons of cargo annually. The port specializes in bulk, containerized and general cargo. Tampa Bay is also one of the top fertilizer export ports in the world, and the largest steel handling port in the Sunshine State.

40. Port Freeport. Located in Freeport, Texas, Port Freeport is one of the nation’s fastest growing ports. It specializes in breakbulk and project cargo and recently installed a 110 MT Gottwald Mobile Harbor Crane to help speed processing of project cargo. The port plans to begin construction on a depth expansion this year that would drop it from 46 feet to 51-56 feet deep, making it the deepest port in the Lone Star State.

41. Port of Honolulu. The Port of Honolulu is both a tourist attraction and commercial harbor facility in one. The main Hawaiian island’s main port, Honolulu processes 11 million tons of cargo annually, part of which accounts for 80 percent of the state’s required goods.

42. Port of Everett. Washington state’s third-largest port handles much of Washington’s aerospace cargo. In fact, the port accommodates 100 percent of the oversized parts for five aerospace tanker programs. The port is the No. 2 export customs district in the state and No. 5 on the entire West Coast.

43. Port of Valdez. The northernmost ice-free port in the U.S. serves as the base of the trans-Alaska pipeline (TAPS). The Port of Valdez provides easy access to the interior of Alaska, Canada, the Pacific Rim and the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

44. Port of Corpus Christi. The port’s straight, 47-foot deep channel serves as a gateway to the Gulf of Mexico and the rest of the United States. It also boasts the strongest open wharf on the Gulf, making the Port of Corpus Christi ideal for a variety of cargo. Due to its location, the port handles large quantities of energy products.

45. Port of Portland. Portland, Oregon’s port generates 27,000 local jobs and $1.8 billion in wages for workers in the state. The only deep-draft container port in Oregon has five berths and eight intermodal tracks within its 419-acre span.

46. Port of Kalama. The port in Southwest Washington employs more than 1,000 workers and is home to more than 30 companies. With a 43-foot deep draft navigation channel, the port sprawls for five miles along the Columbia River. The port has both shovel-ready and move in-ready facilities as well as an office park and easy access to a variety of transportation modes, including rail, highway and river.

47. Port of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky. The 136-year-old Port of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky was recently expanded from 26 miles to 226.5 miles. With 129 active docks and terminals between Ohio and Kentucky, the new and improved port is now ranked 15th in the nation and is the busiest inland port in America.

48. Port of Huntington Tri-State. West Virginia’s largest river port—and the largest inland river port in the country—has a presence on the Scioto River, Big Sandy River and the Kanawha Rivers respectively.

49. Port of Pittsburgh. Port Pitt is the fourth-busiest inland port in America and the 23rd busiest port overall, handling around 9,000 barges annually. Port Pitt spans 12 counties and more than 200 miles of commercial waterways in Pennsylvania.

50. Port of Lake Charles. The Louisiana port was recently named the seventh-fastest growing port in the country by Forbes as well as the 12th busiest seaport in America. Comprised of two marine terminals and two industrial parks, the Port of Lake Charles is known for processing a wide variety of cargo including bagged rice and other food products, project cargoes, barite, metals and petroleum products.

A port’s success at increasing TEUs over previous years is a promising sign for our economy. More TEUs means faster processing times, saving money (and hopefully, raising profits) for everyone from the shipping company to the end user. As you have seen, these 50 ports have either raised their TEUs dramatically or worked hard to improve their facilities or equipment to make cargo processing more efficient for everyone.

Agility & Speed Essential for East Coast Port Growth

When the Evergreen Triton arrived at the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore on May 24, it became the largest container ship ever to visit Maryland. The vessel that can handle 14,424 twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) containers surpassed the 11,000-TEU Gunde Maersk, which as of the previous October had been the largest container ship to ever visit Maryland. The Gunde Maersk had one upped a 9,700-TEU Mediterranean Shipping Co. vessel, which in 2017 became the Maryland record-setter.

Exactly 30 days before the Evergreen Triton milestone, the Jacksonville Port Authority set a record when the ZIM vessel Kota Pekarang became the largest container ship to ever call JAXPORT. The 11,923-TEU vessel transited the Panama Canal from Northeast Asia before reaching the U.S. East Coast and discharging and loading cargo at JAXPORT’s Blount Island Marine Terminal on April 24. Less than a month before that—on March 18, to be precise—the 11,000-TEU ZIM vessel Cape Sounio had become the JAXPORT record-holder when it docked at Blount Island.

To say that the biggest of the big ships have been coming fast and furious to select East Coast ports lately would be an understatement, not that any of these calls caught anyone off guard. “Thanks to Maryland’s investment in a 50-foot berth, every year we are seeing larger and larger container ships choosing the Port of Baltimore,” Governor Larry Hogan said upon the Evergreen Triton arrival. Likewise,  JAXPORT, which is Florida’s No. 1 container port complex by volume, is deepening its harbor to keep up with the biggest-of-the-big-ship demand.

According to recently released rankings of America’s top 30 ports by TEUs in 2018, the Port of Los Angeles and its Southern California sister the Port of Long Beach hold the top two spots respectively, just as they did in 2017. But LA’s TEU growth of 5.40 percent in 2018 from 2017, as well as Long Beach’s 6.80 percent jump over the same period, were below the 7.80 percent combined average of the nation’s top 30 ports. Meanwhile, though the Port of New York and New Jersey and Port of Savannah (Georgia) maintained their 2017 slots as the country’s third and fourth top ports in 2018 respectively, those East Coast ports saw TEU year-to-year growth rise by 12.80 percent and 10.80 percent.

“New York came closer than ever to overtaking Long Beach as the second largest port for imports after the raising of the Bayonne Bridge and investments by Maersk in new cranes allowed a 12.8 percent rise in shipments, leaving it with a 14.5 percent share of all seaborne imports to the United States,” writes Patrick Burnson, executive editor with Logistics Management, in a piece crunching the top port numbers. Burnson goes on to credit the widening of the Panama Canal in 2016—which led to East Coast ports deepening their channels and erecting massive cranes to accommodate Post-Panamax vessels—with the Eastern Seaboard’s continued rise.

Savannah’s upgrades are credited with drawing shipping business away from others in the East. Among those who have taken notice is Seaboard Marine, which in May launched a new direct, all-water service that will have both refrigerated and dry container service to and from the Port of Savannah and North Central America, including Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

A different public-private partnership is credited with spurring the growth enjoyed by the state of Maryland, whose Department of Transportation points to its Maryland Port Administration and Ports America Chesapeake. So far that pact has brought about a 50-foot deep channel and 50-foot deep berth to accommodate the mega-ships traveling through the Panama Canal and past other ports before pulling into the Old Line State, which may be compelled to change its nickname to the “Old and New Shipping Line State.”

As Bayard Hogans, vice president of Ports America Chesapeake, said upon Triton’s arrival, “The partnership between the Port of Baltimore, Ports America Chesapeake and Evergreen will continue to allow the world’s largest container ships to deliver the goods and commodities that power America’s economy through Maryland.”

A different partnership is paying dividends at another East Coast port. The rearrangement of services prompted by container alliances forged overseas has been cited as a factor in the Port of Miami experiencing 20.80 percent TEU growth in 2018 compared to a year before.

There are 1 billion reasons PortMiami shows up on the international shipping radar—namely $1 billion in infrastructure projects that have created an on-dock intermodal rail system, dredged the deep-water channel to welcome Post-Panamax vessels and carved a direct-access tunnel leading to the interstate highway system. And don’t forget PortMiami Foreign Trade Zone 281. PortMiami’s cargo and container ship operations, coupled with its world-famous luxury cruise line industry, are credited with generating $43 billion in economic activity countywide and statewide.

The gulf side of Florida is also getting attention from abroad, as proven by French container shipping giant CMA CGM having launched service to Port Tampa Bay in late May. The new Pacific Express 3 service rotation is: Singapore; Vung Tau; Hong Kong; Shekou; Ningbo; Shanghai; Busan; Panama Canal; Houston; Mobile; New Orleans; Tampa; Miami; and back to Singapore.

Port Tampa Bay, which was at the ready with two Post-Panamax cranes to complement three existing gantry cranes, is currently investing in new facilities to further diversify its service and implementing a phased build-out plan to quadruple capacity over the next few years.

Another move that began outside the U.S. that is expected to help East Coast ports is the London-based International Maritime Organization imposing its low-sulfur fuel rule that takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020. The resulting number crunching spurred by the higher fuel costs is expected to ultimately draw ships away from the Suez Canal in favor of the shorter route from Asia to the American East Coast through the Panama Canal. This is despite the Central American waterway’s transit fees being higher than what the Suez Canal Authority charges.

As the larger ports along the Eastern Seaboard make the billion-dollar moves aimed at luring the world’s largest container vessels, smaller operations are also finding success filling niches. Take, for instance, the Connecticut Port Authority, whose main port at New London is about halfway between New York and Boston. Though the CPA was only formed in 2016, it has already filled a niche when it comes to wind energy. In yet another public-private partnership, the CPA; Gateway, which operates terminals in New Haven; Eversource, the regional energy provider previously known as Northeast Utilities; and Denmark-based Ørsted are the players in the Bay State Wind joint venture. Among Bay State Wind’s upcoming projects is the $93 million redevelopment of State Pier in New London.

JONES ACT REPEAL WOULD BOOST U.S. ECONOMY: STUDY

A recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that repeal of the Jones Act would produce economic gains for the U.S. of up to $64 billion.

The Jones Act mandates that all cargo shipped between U.S. ports be transported on ships built in the U.S. and bearing the U.S. flag, as well as owned and crewed by Americans. But by eliminating foreign competition, the law significantly increases the cost of shipping between American ports, argues LIBRE Initiative President Daniel Garza.

“First signed into law nearly a century ago, the Jones Act raises costs for every American consumer–particularly those in areas that are relatively isolated and which depend heavily on shipborne commerce,” Garza says. “It also hurts the competitiveness of exports, undermining job growth. This study by the OECD shows that not only will repealing this outdated law boost our economy, it will even increase the competitiveness and economic output of the shipbuilding sector–the very industry the law is supposed to be helping.”

Reform would introduce competition that would force a reduction in the cost of U.S.-built ships, potentially leading to an increase in demand of 70 percent–expanding the size of the shipbuilding sector from $841 million to $1.43 billion, states the OECD report. “It’s far past time for Congress to repeal this outdated law,” Garza says. “Doing so will help American consumers and producers. What are we waiting for?”

South Carolina Ports Authority Continues Growth Pattern

The month of April proved to be another success according to reported numbers released from South Carolina Ports Authority confirming a 4.2 percent increase in volumes moved across the Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals compared to last April.

Inland Port Greer reached its second highest volume month in history with
112,952 moves as well as Inland Port Dillon with 3,411 rail moves – one year after its opening. Inland Port Dillon reported a total of 24,423 rail moves  since the start of SCPA’s fiscal year.

SCPA’s fiscal year-to-date container volume growth has increased by 10.4 percent with roughly 2 million TEUs handled nine months.

“April was strong for SCPA’s container business, supporting volumes well above planned levels with only two months remaining in the fiscal year,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. “Our continued growth is testament to the commitment and skills of our employees and maritime community, and we look forward to a very positive FY2019 finish in June.”

Beyond substantial growth patterns in container volumes, SCPA’s breakbulk operations reported robust numbers in non-containerized cargo in the month of April. A total of 65,778 pier tons were reported in April of which includes 19,415 vehicles. Additionally, SCPA confirmed 116,443 pier containers were handled in April, totaling 1.1 million containers for fiscal year to date.

PORT TAMPA BAY GROWS BY LEVERAGING ITS REAL ESTATE AND CARGO DIVERSITY

Diversity among seaports is a concept not only understood but exemplified with Port Tampa Bay. Known as Florida’s largest seaport in both acreage and tonnage, with more than 34 million tons of cargo handled annually, Port Tampa Bay demonstrates industry breadth through its cargo diversification, cruise passengers and real estate strategies to keep pace with the central part of the Sunshine State’s blistering growth.

Through its purposeful investment and master planning approach, the management team has made great strides in recent years connecting transportation methods, logistics, warehousing and even manufacturing to support and grow the region’s largest economic engine. As its 2018 fiscal year saw an unprecedented number of major announcements related to growth, Port Tampa Bay is already seeing more growth in fiscal year 2019.

Cargo diversity, real estate and proximity to growth are the major differentiators that have enabled Port Tampa Bay to leverage itself and grow. 

“I found a tremendous convergence of opportunity when I arrived,” said Paul Anderson, Port Tampa Bay’s president and CEO. “I knew I wanted to maintain and expand a diverse portfolio, capitalizing on our land assets and building the infrastructure to serve more customers and Florida’s growth more efficiently.”

As a result, officials understood that Port Tampa Bay’s most valuable position within the market could only be achieved through analyzing industry benchmarks, investing in infrastructure and capitalizing on opportunities by listening to the perspectives of carriers and beneficial cargo owners before implementing strategic initiatives. By gaining a thorough understanding of market conditions on a domestic and international level, Port Tampa Bay has successfully become the largest economic influencer in the Western Florida region, responsible for a more than $17 billion in economic impact while generating more than 85,000 jobs.

Port Tampa Bay’s cargo portfolio includes all major categories, from liquid bulk and dry bulk to containers, automobiles, break-bulk and more. Additionally, the port serves as one of the largest shipbuilding and repair handlers in the Southeast United States. It is also a top 10 cruise homeport, and last year the 1 million mark was surpassed for passengers sailing from Port Tampa Bay.

One of the world’s premier fertilizer export ports continues leading in both the liquid and dry-bulk arenas, thanks to the likes of global exporters Amalie Oil and Mosaic. Through these connections, Port Tampa Bay supports the reach of more than 100 countries and helps to feed the world.

On the break-bulk side, Tampa Tank/Florida Structural Steel helps to anchor several steel fabricators and related businesses, making the port a significant mover in this business segment. Furthermore, the port has developed about 290 acres of land to help continue its efforts handling steel, dry bulk and other commodities. 

Furthering its diversity and strategic master planning approach, the port developed a new on-dock cold storage facility and a dedicated automobile terminal fully equipped to process the anticipated expansion of vehicle production in Mexico and the Southeast.

Looking to the future, Port Tampa Bay has major plans in the works to expand overall capacity and infrastructure from docks and terminals to land tracts and parcels supportive of increased containers and break-bulk cargos. A total of $380 million is projected to support the port’s expansion efforts over the next five years. Through this budgeting and robust development planning, the port projects expanding its container terminal capacity to 160 acres–essentially quadrupling current capacity and attracting new services.

All of this vision, planning and investment has already paid off in a couple of very big ways. COSCO Shipping in December announced Port Tampa Bay’s first direct Asia weekly call service, followed by a second announcement in February by CMA CGM to expand its global container reach. Secondly, in April, Port Tampa Bay completed a major navigational improvement on its Big Bend channel, deepening and widening to accommodate larger ships.

More accomplished was how the project was pulled off: by first assembling a public-private partnership that included five stakeholders and maintaining its cohesiveness for several years. The improved channel can now service the approximately 290 acres of new terminal operations and capacity among port tenants.

Throughout all of Port Tampa Bay’s projects and new business expansion are the common themes of vision, strategic planning, investment and expertise. “That and listening to what our customers need to increase their efficiency and/or speed to market is what it is all about,” Anderson says.

These elements continue to provide Port Tampa Bay with ideas that increase economic impact, import/export efficiencies, and just as importantly, sustainable growth.

PORT OF GALVESTON LEADERSHIP TAKES OPERATIONS TO THE NEXT LEVEL

In the year following his appointment to port director and CEO in January 2018, Port of Galveston’s Rodger Rees proved that with the right kind of leadership, significant operational changes can be quickly implemented without compromising the quality of production. When Rees first joined the port’s team, he immediately recognized areas in dire need of change–and quickly. Without wasting time, Rees took a step back to analyze the best way to continue operations while maximizing resources. A testament to Rees’ first year success is through the nearly $6 million profit the port recorded for 2018, when the original budget forecast anticipated breaking even.

“The port wasn’t operating at its fullest,” Rees explains. “Over the past year, we’ve really made a lot of strides. We’ve restructured our operations on the water front and our administration. To me, that’s an example of allowing people to do their jobs. Many times, people have been held back in positions and when I came here, I said, ‘Here’s your chance’ and people excelled.”

When Rees evaluated the company’s operational structure, he identified stagnation as one of the root issues hindering the port from performing at its highest capability. Tackling operational inefficiencies started with improving senior management’s operations approach, ultimately enabling and motivating workers to do their jobs without obstructions from leadership. These changes directly impacted the level of quality delivered to customers.

“We’ve been very customer-oriented since I got here,” Rees says. “Our customers are the cargo companies, the stevedores, all those people. As a port, we are really building those relationships because that’s the long-term piece that really brings in the businesses–they’re confident the port can perform.”

Beyond tackling the structure and operations of the Port of Galveston, Rees saw an immediate need for automation implementation and successfully implemented an entire software platform in just three months.

“When I came here, we had a very old operating software and accounting packages,” he recalls. “I was very familiar with a company that had a software package that had a very robust port management module built into the software. In September, we said, ‘Can we do it?’ and our staff said, ‘Let’s go!’ and we implemented a brand-new software package in 90 days.

“We have also been able to get out of the paper parking business and have installed an automated parking system. That all ties into the new accounting system as well as we’ve automated our ERP back office systems, and now our new parking systems.”

Rees stresses the importance of internal operations and pride as the company attributes a lot of its success to its employees and their “can-do” outlook.

“We are able to self-perform and that’s helped our bottom line,” Rees says. “We’re excited by the fact that these guys have stepped up and taken pride in their work, and we’re doing a lot of tasks and jobs that ordinarily would’ve been done with a third party. The two biggest things have been the total revamping of our back-office ERP system as well as the implementation of a fully automatic parking system.”

Looking at Rees’ history, one might find it surprising to learn that he did not start his career in the Ro-Ro port industry. He boasts 25 years managing his own security business before switching gears as a consultant to smaller public companies. At the time, Rees lived about four miles from Port Canaveral, which he socially frequented. Through the social relationships developed over time, Rees sought the opportunity to provide his expertise when the port expressed the need for a chief financial officer.

“The good fortune from my standpoint was they were looking for non-port personnel,” Rees says. “In other words, the CEO there was a developer and Port Canaveral was heavily into new cruise terminals and renovations of old terminals, and he was looking for a financial person who understood the financial markets. I spent five years over there in the financial business.”

Bringing it all together, Rees identified what the future holds for the Port of Galveston and where the potential lies.

“This port is perfectly located for the cruise business. The cruise business is going to be what enables this port to really enhance and revitalize the infrastructure in the cargo business here. Since I’ve been here, we’ve signed deals with Royal Caribbean, which is going to build a $100 million terminal here, and we’ve extended our partnership with Disney Cruise Lines, which we just confirmed a 10-year deal with for them to expand. They’ll be doubling the number of cruises out in Galveston.

“What I see is the cruise business really complementing our cargo business, simply because this will enable us to do some things that we weren’t able to do to really grow our cargo business. We’re the only ones in the western Gulf, out of the 13 ports in the Houston complex, that has cruise business.”