Charleston Container Volume Up 10% in May
CHARLESTON, SC – June 18, 2012 – On the heels of a 10 percent increasein container volume last month, the South Carolina Ports Authority(SCPA) Board today approved the most aggressive investment plan in theagency’s 70-year history, underscoring the anticipated growth of SouthCarolina’s ports from big ship traffic, the expansion of the PanamaCanal and increased exports from the region.
During its regular monthly meeting, the Board approved the SCPA’s budgetfor the 2013 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The plan projects aneight percent increase in container volume and $146.9 million in capitalspending on major investments such as the construction of the new NavyBase Terminal and upgrades to facility infrastructure and informationsystems.
This aggressive investment plan for our ports mirrors the significantinvestment of our state toward realizing the Charleston Harbor DeepeningProject, said SCPA Chairman Bill Stern, referring to the $180 millionbudget allocation approved by both houses of the South Carolinalegislature this session. An additional $120 million toward thedeepening project’s construction is being considered by the budgetconference committee.
Stern continued, In making these commitments to our portinfrastructure, we are ensuring that South Carolina has the tools tospur the economic growth and job creation that comes with havingworld-class port facilities.
We continue to challenge our organization to grow above the market,said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the SCPA. The aggressiveprojections for our business growth reflect our belief that deep waterwill drive port selection by cargo interests.
Also included in the FY2013 budget is a six percent planned increase inbreakbulk and non-containerized cargo at South Carolina’s publicseaports. Breakbulk tonnage has been a major growth factor for the SCPA,buoyed by the completed $23-million project to transform ColumbusStreet Terminal into a premier ro-ro, breakbulk and project cargofacility. The terminal handles cargoes such as BMW vehicle exports aswell as heavy lift moves for the power generation industry.
Furthermore, the budget plan calls for an increase in personnel, withthe addition of nine jobs in the operations and maintenance areas duringthe next 12 months.
Volume Results & Approved Projects
The Board also discussed during the meeting the port system’s currentbusiness climate. May’s container volume of 132,498 20-foot equivalentunits (TEUs) was a nearly 10 percent gain over the same month last year.
In the 2012 fiscal year to date (from July 2011 to May 2012), TEU volumein the Port of Charleston was up 3.4 percent from the previous yearwhile pier tons of non-containerized cargo in Charleston and Georgetownclimbed 43.1 percent.
In other business, the SCPA Board approved a $2 million paving andcontainer yard improvement project for North Charleston Terminal, to becompleted by Banks Construction Co. The Board also authorized a contractrelated to electrical upgrades needed at that facility to replace fourolder dockside container cranes with four new cranes, which the SCPAplans to purchase within the next year.
Additionally, the Board approved a resolution authorizing the SCPA, asGrantee, to apply to reorganize Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) No. 21 under analternative site framework. This reorganization would increase the FTZservice area along the coast and broaden the benefits to both new andexisting companies using the program. The SCPA serves as Grantee of theFTZ program for FTZ No. 21 along the South Carolina coast and FTZ No. 38in the Upstate.
About the South Carolina Ports Authority
The South Carolina Ports Authority, established by the state’sGeneral Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport facilities inCharleston and Georgetown, handling international commerce valued atmore than $58 billion annually while receiving no direct taxpayersubsidy. An economic development engine for the state, port operationsfacilitate 260,800 jobs across South Carolina and nearly $45 billion ineconomic activity each year. For more information, visit http://www.scspa.com.