South Carolina Ports Authority saw steady container volumes in January, with strong year-over-year increases in the vehicle, cruise and inland ports segments.
SC Ports moved 211,020 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEU) across the Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals in January — the highest January ever for TEU volumes. SCPA has handled 1.44 million TEU thus far in fiscal year 2020, from July through January.
As measured by the total number of boxes handled, SCPA moved 118,943 pier containers in January for a total of 813,599 pier containers in fiscal year 2020.
Vehicle volumes are up 32% year-over-year with a total of 131,153 vehicles handled thus far in fiscal year 2020. The Port moved 15,546 vehicles at Columbus Street Terminal in January.
Cruise passengers are up 48% year-over-year with 179,792 passengers handled thus far in fiscal year 2020. The Port handled 26,522 cruise passengers in January.
“Our volumes are consistent and strong during a time of uncertainty in the global market,” SC Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “Our success is made possible by our efficiently run terminals, excellent maritime community and advantageous position in the Southeast. We plan to further grow our cargo base through increased retail cargo and enhanced rail connections.”
SC Ports’ inland port network continues to see growth as more companies opt to move cargo to and from the Port of Charleston via overnight rail.
Inland Port Greer reported 11,552 rail moves in January, while Inland Port Dillon reported 3,237 rail moves last month. Combined, the inland ports reported 105,996 rail moves in fiscal year 2020, up 18% year-over-year.
SC Ports continually invests in big-ship infrastructure. In 2021, SC Ports will open the country’s newest container terminal — the Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. Terminal — and achieve the deepest harbor on the East Coast when Charleston Harbor reaches 52 feet.
Roaring into the ’20s
SC Ports recently celebrated the structural completion of the first building at the Hugh Leatherman Terminal in North Charleston. The operations building is taking shape as work progresses on the 1,400-foot-wharf. The terminal’s first phase is set to open in March 2021.
SC Ports welcomed three new hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes to Wando Welch Terminal as it also prepares to have a new ship-to-shore crane become operational there this week. The new ship-to-shore crane has 155 feet of lift height; it is one of three new cranes that arrived in October.
The opening of the Leatherman Terminal and enhancements at Wando Welch Terminal will enable SC Ports to handle four 14,000-TEU vessels simultaneously next year.