Port of Charleston, a part of South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) and the fourth busiest container port in the US, handled a total of 1.97 million containers in 2015, a 10 percent growth compared to the previous year.
In December alone, the SCPA handled 144,718 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), adding to the increase in container volume, SCPA said.
The SCPA’ two container terminals moved 1.12 million boxes in 2015, a growth of 9.54 percent, compared to 1.02 million containers handled last year.
“Our 10 percent TEU volume growth for the 2015 calendar year is outstanding,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO.
“Successful recruitment of discretionary cargo has been an important driver of volumes, as well as continued strength of the automotive sector. However, looking ahead to the second half of our 2016 fiscal year, we expect flat to very modest growth due largely to weakness in overseas markets.
“Because of the Panama Canal expansion delay, we will not see new ship deployments of significance until FY2017.”
According to the ports authority, non-containerized cargo business volume was strong in 2015, with 1.34 million pier tons handled during the year.
SCPA recently added a new regular shipping service, Atlantic Ro-Ro Carriers (ARRC), to its vessel calls at Columbus Street Terminal. The first ARRC vessel arrived on January 8, handling approximately 6,000 tons of import cargo.
Additionally, the authority has approved two contracts related to the development of the Hugh K. Leatherman, Sr. Terminal, which is expected to increase SCPA’s current container capacity by 50 percent, with the first phase expected to open for operations by 2020.