Container volume down 6% on tempered peak season
CHARLESTON, SC – November 15, 2011 – Breakbulk volume at South Carolina’s seaports in Charleston and Georgetown continued its uptick, with a 121 percent climb last month over 2010 levels.
The Port of Charleston’s non-container segment rose 58 percent, with 66,540 tons handled in October versus 42,163 tons during the same month in 2010. Breakbulk tonnage for the fiscal year, which began July 1, is up more than 74 percent.
Tonnage in the Port of Georgetown more than tripled year-over-year. Georgetown handled 48,807 tons last month, a significant climb over 13,512 tons in October 2010. Volume in FY12 grew more than four-fold in Georgetown.
Container volume was off six percent last month on a slower peak season for containerized goods. The Port of Charleston handled 113,650 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in October, down from 121,229 TEUs in 2010. September’s container volume increase of nearly 18 percent was more an outlier than an indicator of an upward trend.
While some lingering questions remain about economic strength in the near term, our ports’ fundamentals and prospects for growth are very strong, said South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) President and CEO Jim Newsome, referring to enhanced facilities, inland infrastructure and expanding non-container business segments, which are often the building blocks of future cargo growth. The SCPA is implementing a 10-year, $1.3-billion capital plan for new and existing facilities to support future business demand.
At its November meeting, the SCPA Board approved projects totaling $988,000 in equipment and infrastructure upgrades, including four container handler masts for the Wando Welch Terminal as well as improved rail leads serving Veterans Terminal.
The Board also signed off on two economic development agreements related to South Carolina’s growing tire industry. Last month, Continental Tire announced plans for a new, $500-million plant in Sumter, SC that will employ up to 1,700 workers. Bridgestone Corporation recently broke ground on its 1.5 million square foot manufacturing plant in Aiken, SC. The $1.2-billion investment is expected to create 850 new jobs.
About the South Carolina Ports Authority
The South Carolina State Ports Authority, established by the state’s General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport facilities in Charleston and Georgetown, handling international commerce valued at more than $50 billion annually while receiving no direct taxpayer subsidy. An economic development engine for the state, port operations facilitate 260,800 jobs across South Carolina and nearly $45 billion in economic activity each year. For more information, visit www.scspa.com.