South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) reported nine percent container volume growth in 2017 with a record-setting 2.2 million TEUs handled during the year.
The port’s total container volume in 2017 surpassed the previous record of 2 million TEUs achieved in 2016.
In addition, the port moved 182,884 TEUs last month, an increase of 11.2 percent over December 2016 and the highest December in SCPA history.
“Global container trade growth was the strongest it has been since 2010, mirroring surprising strength in the global economy,” Jim Newsome, SCPA President and CEO, said.
“We expect to see continued strength, albeit slightly more modest, into 2018 with growth in the emerging market economies as a key factor in sustaining this positive outlook,” Newsome added.
As measured by the total number of boxes handled, SCPA moved a total of 1.2 million pier containers in 2017.
In non-containerized cargo, SCPA’s Charleston breakbulk facilities handled a total of 783,363 tons during the year. Nearly 235,000 finished vehicles moved across the dock of the Columbus Street Terminal in 2017.
In addition to record-breaking volumes, 2017 was a year marked by significant advancement of key SCPA projects. Construction of the Leatherman Terminal continued, representing major growth capacity for the port’s container business when Phase One opens in 2020.
During the year, SCPA celebrated the groundbreaking of Inland Port Dillon, which will open in April, and a new headquarters building, scheduled to open in December.
The port also made progress on the final phase of the Wando Terminal Wharf Strengthening Project, which will be completed this spring in conjunction with the delivery of two new 155′ ship-to-shore cranes.
The Charleston Harbor Deepening Project to 52 feet achieved several milestones in 2017, having been named one of six “new starts” and receiving USD 17.5 million in construction funding in the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Fiscal Year 17 Work Plan. The USACE awarded the first two construction contracts of USD 47 million and USD 213 million to deepen the Entrance Channel in preparation for dredging to begin next month. By the end of 2020, SCPA will be able to handle the biggest ships calling the East Coast.
SCPA owns and operates public seaport facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer.