Ports Authority reports jump in container volume

The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) announced Sept. 14 that it saw a 4 percent jump in container volume in August compared to the same period last year.

This came just after the SCPA announced a five-year plan for growth, investment and cargo base expansion at the State of the Port.

In August, SCPA handled 170,528 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in August and moved 345,751 TEUs during the first two months of the 2016 fiscal year. Those numbers mean container volume is up 8.8 percent year-over-year.

Approximately 97,000 boxes moved across SCPA docks in August. Fiscal year-to-date pier container volume has increased 8.1 percent, with 195,703 boxes handled during the last two months.

"August was a strong month across all business segments," SCPA President and CEO Jim Newsome said. "This broad-based growth is indicative of the modest, sustained volume increases we're expecting as the 2016 fiscal year progresses.

"I continue to believe that Southeastern ports will see relatively strong growth compared to the overall U.S. market," Newsome said.

Non-containerized cargo volumes also increased in August, with Charleston moving 73,288 pier tons during the month.

Additionally, fiscal year-to-date volumes are almost 39 percent higher than plan. 

Georgetown handled 8,471 pier tons in August, making SCPA's total fiscal year-to-date break bulk volumes 81,758 pier tons - 19.2 percent ahead of plan.The Inland Port handled 7,322 rail moves in August with 14,889 total rail moves handled fiscal year to date; the facility's strong volumes are 52 percent higher than plan.

The SCPA Board has given the go-ahead for the purchase of electrical equipment to prepare for the installation of additional refrigerated container racks at the Wando Terminal. Additionally, control systems and drives for 19 SCPA rubber-tired gantry cranes will be replaced.

The board has approved a contract for S&ME, Inc. to prep the terminal for larger vessels and cranes to move through it.

A resolution was adopted by the board which gives 28.89 acres of property to the Charleston Naval Complex for transfer to Palmetto Railways. The property will be used for the development of the Navy Base Terminal. Another resolution allowing SCPA management to begin the process of issuing $300 million in revenue bonds to support capital expenditures planned through fiscal year 2019 was also approved.

New officers were also elected; their terms will commence in 2016. New officers include Chair Pat McKinney, Vice Chair Pamela Lackey, Secretary Willie Jeffries and Treasurer Mike Sisk.

A new organizational realignment plan providing for five direct reports at the senior vice president level was also introduced. Those reports will be Jack Ellenberg, Strategic Projects; Peter Hughes, Finance and Administration; Barbara Melvin, Operations and Terminals; Paul McClintock, Sales and Marketing; and Catherine Templeton, Human Resources, External Affairs and Legal.

"The realignment plan for SCPA's senior team supports our aggressive goals over the next five years," Newsome said. "I am confident that their skillful leadership well-positions the Port to meet the challenges ahead and enhances our ability to continue delivering a world-class product for our customers and stakeholders."

For more information on South Carolina Ports, visit www.scspa.com.

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