South Carolina Ports (SC Ports) has achieved the most successful year in terms of container volumes in its history, handling 2.75 million TEU at Wando Welch Terminal, North Charleston Terminal and Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal in 2021, representing an increase of 19% from 2020 and 13% from 2019.
SC Ports has also set monthly year-over-year container records for ten consecutive months in the previous year, from March through December. Much of the cargo growth is driven by consumers buying more retail goods during the pandemic, according to the US port.
"2021 was a truly banner year for South Carolina Ports," highlighted SC Ports CEO, Jim Newsome, who went on to comment that "amid tremendous and ongoing supply chain challenges, we handled record-breaking cargo volumes, while consistently providing capacity and fluidity for our customers."
In the meantime, the port handled 1.53 million pier containers, which accounts for containers of any size, marking a growth of 18% increase from 2020 and an 11% increase compared to 2019's figures.
Loaded imports completed 1.29 million TEU in 2021, recording a growth of 25% over the previous year, while loaded exports reached 814,964 TEU, elevated by 5% year-on-year.
"SC Ports’ two rail-served inland ports proved crucial to supply chain fluidity throughout the pandemic," said the port. Inland Port Greer handled 160,234 rail moves, up 14% from 2020, while Inland Port Dillon registered 29,412 rail moves.
Regarding the month of December, it was the busiest December on record, with SC Ports handling 246,198 TEU. At the same time, the US port moved 137,506 pier containers, while Inland Port Greer handled 12,217 rail moves, and Inland Port Dillon moved 1,490 containers.
Newsome said that SC Ports provides capacity for growing retailers as record retail imports flow into the Port of Charleston. "By investing more than US$2 billion in port infrastructure, SC Ports provides much-needed supply chain fluidity for customers," he added.
Following the record-setting 2021, SC Ports has unveiled plans for investments in 2022, including the deployment of 15 ship-to-shore cranes with 47.2 meters of lift height at Wando Welch Terminal, the full utilisation of the first phase of Leatherman Terminal, the completion of the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project, the start of construction on the rail-served Navy Base Intermodal Facility and inner-harbour barge project, and the progress on the Inland Port Greer expansion project.