South Carolina Ports (SC Ports) recorded 2022 with the most containers ever handled at the Port of Charleston.
In its announcement, SC Ports said it moved nearly 2.8 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) last year, a 1.5% increase over 2021.
When accounting for containers of any size, SC Ports moved more than 1.5 million pier containers in 2022, a 1% increase from 2021.
"South Carolina's excellent port team and maritime community efficiently handled record cargo volumes and expertly navigated supply chain challenges to keep freight moving for our customers," said Barbara Melvin, SC Ports president and CEO.
SC Ports moved 199,343 vehicles across the docks of Columbus Street Terminal in 2022, further connecting South Carolina's automakers with global consumers.
Inland Port Greer and Inland Port Dillon handled a combined 167,147 rail moves in 2022, enabling more companies throughout the Southeast to quickly move goods to and from the port via rail.
"South Carolina Ports serves as South Carolina's gateway to the world, giving companies direct access to global markets," Melvin said.
Bill Stern, SC Ports Board chairman, also noted major business announcements and expansions happening in South Carolina, which is further boosting volumes at the port.
"We have strategically invested in critical port infrastructure to support the growth occurring today and into the future," Stern said.
Infrastructure investments at SC Ports
SC Ports has invested more than US$2 billion into port infrastructure in recent years to support the state's booming business sector.
Combined with port funding and state funding, SC Ports plans to spend an additional US$2.5 billion over the next decade.
Investments thus far have yielded modernized container terminals with ample capacity, the deepest harbour on the East Coast at 52 feet and a strong rail-served inland port network.
Construction is now underway on SC Ports' Navy Base Intermodal Facility, a modern cargo yard in North Charleston that will be rail-served by CSX, Norfolk Southern and Palmetto Railways.
SC Ports noted that creating near-dock rail at the Port of Charleston will make South Carolina more competitive as an import gateway to the United States.
SC Ports is also developing an inner-harbour barge operation to support the Navy Base Intermodal Facility; it will transport cargo between container terminals via water.
The SC Legislature and Governor Henry McMaster allocated US$550 million to build the rail yard and barge operation.
Critical infrastructure investments are happening around the state to support the state's supply chains.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation has significantly increased investments in the state's transportation network, spending nearly US$4 billion on construction contracts in 2022.