South Carolina ports saw steady container volumes in January, with strong year-over-year increases in the vehicle, cruise and inland ports segments.
In a statement, the S.C. Ports Authority said ports in South Carolina moved 211,020 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) across the Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals in January — the highest January ever for TEU volumes.
SCPA, meanwhile, has handled 1.44 million TEUs thus far in fiscal year 2020, from July through January.
As measured by the total number of boxes handled, SCPA moved 118,943 pier containers in January for a total of 813,599 pier containers in fiscal year 2020.
S.C. Ports Authority noted that vehicle volumes are up 32% year-over-year with a total of 131,153 vehicles handled thus far in fiscal year 2020 and the port moved 15,546 vehicles at Columbus Street Terminal in January.
“Our volumes are consistent and strong during a time of uncertainty in the global market,” S.C. Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome said.
“Our success is made possible by our efficiently run terminals, excellent maritime community and advantageous position in the Southeast. We plan to further grow our cargo base through increased retail cargo and enhanced rail connections.”
S.C. Ports’ inland port network continues to see growth as more companies opt to move cargo to and from the Port of Charleston via overnight rail.
Inland Port Greer reported 11,552 rail moves in January, while Inland Port Dillon reported 3,237 rail moves last month. Combined, the inland ports reported 105,996 rail moves in fiscal year 2020, up 18% year-over-year.
In addition to growing and diversifying its cargo base, S.C. Ports continually invests in big-ship infrastructure. In 2021, S.C. Ports will open the country’s newest container terminal — the Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. Terminal — and achieve the deepest harbor on the East Coast when Charleston Harbor reaches 52 feet of depth.
Moving into 2020
S.C. Ports said moving to the new year, it recently celebrated the structural completion of the first building at the Hugh Leatherman Terminal in North Charleston. The operations building is taking shape as work progresses on the 1,400-foot-wharf and the terminal’s first phase is set to open in March 2021.
S.C. Ports also welcomed three new hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes to Wando Welch Terminal as it also prepares to have a new ship-to-shore crane become operational there this week. The new ship-to-shore crane has 155 feet of lift height; it is one of three new cranes that arrived in October .
The opening of the Leatherman Terminal and enhancements at Wando Welch Terminal will enable S.C. Ports to handle four 14,000-TEU vessels simultaneously next year, it added.