Shipping article(s)
March 20, 2023

South Carolina Ports (SC Ports) recorded its second-busiest February on record last month despite a slight dip in volumes on the back of persisting economic uncertainties.


Specifically, SC Ports saw a "stronger-than-typical February" for container volumes at the Port of Charleston as South Carolina continues to attract new business.


In a statement, SC Ports said so far in the fiscal year 2023, it handled nearly 1.8 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) and 978,374 pier containers, which account for containers of any size.


TEUs are down 5% from the same time a year prior.


Volumes down 13% YoY in February


Meanwhile, SC Ports and the maritime community handled 201,418 TEUs and 111,118 pier containers in February, which is down about 13% year-over-year.


"Even with this slight dip, last month was the second-highest February for volumes in port history," SC Ports said, noting that February is traditionally a lighter month due to a pause in Asian manufacturing for the Lunar New Year holiday.


"A slowdown in consumer spending amid the rising cost of goods has softened volumes overall, including loaded imports," it added.


SC Ports reported that loaded exports, for the period, however, have been trending up for several months.


In February, loaded exports were up 12% year-over-year at the Port of Charleston. SC Ports noted that it offers an "export-receiving window" to provide more reliability and support to exporters.


It said vehicle volumes are also steadying, and SC Ports had 15,824 vehicles roll across the docks at the Port of Charleston.


"While we are seeing economic uncertainty impact volumes, South Carolina Ports remains well-positioned as a well-run port in the booming Southeast market," said Barbara Melvin, president and CEO of SC Ports.


"South Carolina continues to attract significant new business and investment. We have invested in port capacity and capabilities to efficiently handle goods for these port-dependent businesses."


Inland Ports Greer and Dillon have maintained strong monthly volumes for the past three months, with the rail-served inland ports reporting a combined 16,198 rail moves in February.


SC Ports said Inland Port Dillon, which serves the Pee Dee region and beyond, had a record February by handling 3,664 rail moves.


Enhancing intermodal capabilities


SC Ports noted that it continues its efforts to enhance intermodal capabilities by expanding Inland Greer and building the dual-served Navy Base Intermodal Facility,  which will provide near-dock rail to the Port of Charleston in 2025.


"We are making bold investments in port infrastructure to seamlessly handle imports and exports for companies," Melvin said.


"By enhancing our intermodal capabilities, we will provide more rail connections to the Port of Charleston, further enhancing speed-to-market for goods and helping to attract future investment to our state."

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