S.C. Ports Authority unveils growth plan after busy May

The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) Board of Directors adopted a financial plan last week that is expected to lead to cargo growth, a boost in operating revenues and major capital investments.

The plan was announced after SCPA's May numbers were released. It was a record-setting month for the authority, during which higher-than-ever container volumes were achieved.

Under the plan, it is estimated that pier-container volumes will reach 1.15 million boxes in fiscal year 2016 -- a 7.2 percent jump over estimated numbers for the current fiscal year. The Inland Port is set to experience major growth, with rail moves projected to jump 6.9 percent over the totals projected for FY 2015.

The plan is expected to increase revenues 9.2 percent by the end of FY 2016, or $17.7 million more than the FY 2015 revenue forecast.

“This plan builds upon year-over-year success of our port system,” SCPA Board Chairman Bill Stern said. “The 2016 fiscal year will be a significant time for our port and state, marked by the receipt of the Chief’s Report this September for our 52-foot harbor-deepening project, as well as the continued progress of Navy Base Terminal construction and other significant improvements to our existing terminals. We are well-positioned for the future.”

Capital expenditures of $165.6 million for FY 2015 were approved by the board, as were $73.3 million in investments over the next year. One of the major projects these funds will support is a new container terminal on the former Navy Base, which is expected to open in late 2019.

“I expect SCPA will continue to see strong growth of revenues and handle volumes significantly above the U.S. port market average over the next fiscal year, making this aggressive financial plan achievable,” SCPA President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “We currently receive 11 post-Panamax vessel calls weekly, and the improvements to our dockside infrastructure, coupled with our harbor-deepening project, ensure our port offers first-class facilities designed to receive and deliver containers quickly and handle ships fully loaded with export cargo headed to foreign ports.”

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