Expanded Charleston port to boost state's economy

Jobs created by the port will pay 40 percent higher than average job in South Carolina.   File photo

The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) has approved the expansion of Charleston's cargo port, with the Hugh G. Leatherman Terminal.

"The Leatherman Terminal is a key component, along with modernization of existing terminals and the harbor deepening project to 52 feet, to ensure SCPA is well-positioned for the future and can continue to support economic development for our state," Erin Dhand, manager of Corporate Communications and Community Affairs for South Carolina Ports, told Palmetto Business Daily.

The terminal, which will cost $770 million for Phase 1, will be a catalyst for creation of one in 11 of jobs statewide and will help to support the success that Charleston and the state of South Carolina have recently begun to feel through their connection to trade, imports and exports.

"The Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal is scheduled to open in 2020 and represents a significant addition in SCPA capacity to support growing volumes – we had a record year in fiscal year 2017, and volumes to continue to climb as a result of growing population in the Southeast as well as our region’s strong manufacturing economy," Dhand said.

The SPA was responsible for the handling of 1.21 million cargo boxes at the Port of Charleston terminal during the 2017 fiscal year, ending June 30, according to The Post and Courier, and it is not planning on slowing down anytime soon, as 2018 is projected to experience a 6 percent year-over-year increase in business.

Dhand explained that the jobs created by the port will pay 40 percent higher than average job in South Carolina, which will directly benefit the Charleston economy. Additionally, despite being the smallest of Port of Virginia, Port of Savannah and Port of Charleston, the South Carolina port has continued to grow in refrigerated cargo, a 17 percent increase over the past two years.

"Our port pumps more than $45 billion a year into the region's economy from salaries, materials purchased, fuel sales, manufacturing jobs support, building trades and logistics," Trident CEO Council Executive Director Tom Leonard said. "The future for SC's Economic Engine is bright due to the port's continuing efficiency and growth."

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