SC Ports drives economic success in Upstate

June 3, 2024

South Carolina Ports makes an $87 billion economic impact in South Carolina each year, and more than half of that economic benefit occurs in the Upstate.

Having a world-class port in South Carolina generates a $44 billion economic impact in the Upstate each year, with port operations directly and indirectly supporting 132,000 jobs in the region, according to a recent study by research economist and University of South Carolina professor Dr. Joseph Von Nessen.

“We are so proud that our port system makes a big economic impact across the entire state, and that more than half of that economic benefit occurs right here in the Upstate; the breadbasket of advanced manufacturing for South Carolina, as well as a strong retail and exporting region,” SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin said during an event Thursday held with Spartanburg Chamber. “Every time we move a container, it represents real opportunities in our communities.”

The port’s economic impact in the Upstate has increased by 34% since the study was last performed in 2019.

“We have seen sustained and substantial economic growth in the Upstate, particularly among port-dependent businesses that are expanding operations and investing in new facilities in the region,” Von Nessen said. “Our state’s economic success is directly linked to SC Ports’ growth as the 8th largest container port in the country.”

For decades, SC Ports has been a supply chain partner to many global companies that call the Upstate home, efficiently moving their imports and exports through the Port of Charleston.

In 2013, SC Ports put down roots in the Upstate by opening Inland Port Greer, extending the Port of Charleston’s reach 212 miles inland with dedicated, daily rail service. Shippers benefit from the direct rail connection to the Port of Charleston, which enables them to speed goods to market.

Inland Port Greer moves goods for advanced manufacturers, mega retailers and consumer goods industries across the Southeast. Many of these companies have invested in Upstate operations to take advantage of the inland port.

This has contributed to the success of Inland Port Greer, which has handled more than 156,000 containers so far this fiscal year — a 33% uptick from the year prior.

To support the tremendous growth occurring throughout the Upstate, SC Ports is investing to expand Inland Port Greer with 9,000 feet of new rail and an expanded container yard that can handle 50% more cargo.

“This expansion will support our customers for years to come,” Melvin said. “When we invest in our port facilities to support port-dependent businesses, they in turn invest in their operations. This drives growth and creates jobs for thousands of South Carolinians.”

Looking at South Carolina overall, port operations support 260,000 jobs, meaning 1 in 9 jobs in South Carolina are tied directly or indirectly to SC Ports. Read the full report here.


About South Carolina Ports

South Carolina Ports owns and operates marine terminals at the Port of Charleston and two rail-served inland ports in Greer and Dillon. As the 8th largest U.S. container port, SC Ports connects port-dependent businesses throughout the Southeast and beyond to global markets. SC Ports proactively invests in infrastructure ahead of demand to provide reliable service, efficient operations, cargo capacity, an expansive rail network and the deepest harbor on the East Coast at 52 feet. SC Ports is a vital economic engine for South Carolina, with port operations supporting 1 in 9 jobs statewide. Learn more: