SC Ports’ Impact: $45 Billion

October 31, 2008

CHARLESTON, SC – October 31, 2008 – Seaport operations in Charleston and Georgetown facilitate 260,800 jobs across South Carolina and nearly $45 billion in economic activity annually, according to a new study released today by the S.C. State Ports Authority (SCSPA). 

“The core of the Ports Authority’s mission is to be an economic development engine for the state of South Carolina,” said Bernard Groseclose, president and CEO of the SCSPA. “Port expansion is vital to continuing to grow the state’s economy in the coming years.”  

Wilbur Smith Associates of Columbia, SC compiled the study, which measures actual economic output by port operations in Charleston and Georgetown and port users in all 46 counties during calendar year 2007.  

“These findings show that the state’s seaports have far-reaching impacts that extend well beyond the coast,” said Wilbur Smith’s Eric McClellan, senior economist and project manager for the study. “Clearly, the SCSPA is an integral component to the state’s economy.” 

The study’s key findings reveal that through direct port operations or the activities of port users, trade through the state’s seaports facilitates:

 – More than $44.8 billion in total economic output each year across the state 260,800 jobs, representing 10.9% of all jobs in South Carolina 
 – $11.8 billion in labor income, which is 13.6% of the state’s total income
 – $1.5 billion in state and local taxes

 – $18.5 billion in value-added impact, representing 12.1% of the total gross state product  

Using port-industry data, surveys, and the IMPLAN econometric model, Wilbur Smith tabulated impacts for six regions in the state: Tri-County, Lowcountry, Pee Dee, Aiken, Midlands and Piedmont. SCSPA officials will be traveling across the state later this year to share the detailed impact results by region. 

Currently, the SCSPA is moving forward on near- and long-term expansion projects in Charleston and along the Savannah River in Jasper County.  

Next month, a new 25-acre yard will open at the Wando Welch Terminal, representing a 10% capacity increase for the terminal. The SCSPA is continuing with site preparation associated with a new, 280-acre terminal on the former Navy Base. The terminal is expected to open in 2014 and, at build out, will increase Charleston’s total container capacity by 50%.  

The SCSPA continues to work with the Georgia Ports Authority on the development of a bi-state facility along the Savannah River in Jasper County. Most recently, the two agencies purchased the 1,500-acre site and hired a project management firm.

The entire economic impact report is available online.