South Carolina (S.C.) Ports Authority reported that its cargo volumes for September reflected the "strongest" year-over-year activity since the coronavirus hit, showing a continued recovery and strength in containers, vehicles and inland port moves.
SC Ports handled 195,101 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) at Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals — a record September for SC Ports and a slight increase year-over-year. SC Ports handled 580,912 TEUs in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021.
SC Ports handled 107,816 pier containers, which measures boxes of any size, in September, down 2% year-over-year. This brings the fiscal year total thus far to 323,495 pier containers.
Strong automotive volume
S.C. Ports Authority said vehicles remain a strong business segment for the Port of Charleston with 21,702 vehicles handled at Columbus Street Terminal in September, down less than 2% year-over-year. Fiscal-year-to-date, vehicle volumes are up 25% with 73,044 vehicles handled since July.
SC Ports’ Inland Port Greer and Inland Port Dillon had a busy September as cargo activity increased. Cargo owners needing access to the Port of Charleston benefit from the flexibility and predictability provided by these rail-served inland ports.
“September volumes outperformed expectations as we see an uptick in cargo flowing through our marine terminals and inland ports. We will continue to operate well-run terminals, as we have throughout the pandemic,” SC Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome said.
“We remain highly focused on capturing more retail goods and e-commerce cargo, such as with Walmart’s new 3-million-square-foot distribution center in Dorchester County, S.C.”
SC Ports also had the record-setting CMA CGM Brazil call on the Port of Charleston in September. The 15,072-TEU vessel showcased SC Ports’ big-ship capabilities, efficient operations and deep harbor.
S.C.Ports has investedUS$2 billion into modernizing infrastructure, including upgrades to Wando Welch Terminal and building Phase One of the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal, which will open in March.
The Charleston Harbor Deepening Project is also fully funded and on schedule to achieve a 52-foot depth in 2021.
“The ability to seamlessly handle the CMA CGM Brazil highlights SC Ports’ deep harbour and modern capabilities. We have pursued an amazing amount of infrastructure in a short period of time. In 2021, we will have the deepest harbor on the East Coast, and we will celebrate the opening of Phase One of the Leatherman Terminal.”