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S.C. Ports records highest fiscal year for containers handled

Distribution & Logistics
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The S.C. Ports Authority has reported its strongest fiscal year for containers handled at the Port of Charleston, with a 9.6% increase from fiscal year 2020.

During fiscal year 2021, which ended June 30, S.C. Ports handled 2.55 million 20-foot units, or TEUs, across Wando Welch, North Charleston and Hugh K. Leatherman terminals.

This growth includes the fourth consecutive month that container volumes have exceeded monthly year-over-year records, with 231,758 TEUs moved during June, up 48.1% compared to June 2020.

“While the global pandemic has placed great strain on global supply chains, it has also highlighted how incredibly vital maritime, motor carrier and logistics workers are to the supply chain,” said S.C. Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome in the port authority’s report. “They are keeping freight moving while handling unprecedented cargo increases. We owe them much gratitude for their hard work over the past year.”

Within this time frame, Phase One of Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal began operations in March, adding a 1,400-foot berth and 700,000 TEUs of capacity to the Port of Charleston.   

S.C. Ports also saw expansions and advancements at Inland Port Greer, Wando Welch Terminal and within its Charleston Harbor Deepening Project, which will yield 52 feet of depth in 2022.

“We have been highly focused on delivering world-class infrastructure at the right time,” Newsome said. “We accomplished this in fiscal year 2021, most notably with the opening of Leatherman Terminal, which adds much needed capacity for customers.”

In total, S.C. Ports moved 1.42 million pier containers, which measures containers of any size, a 7.7% increase from the prior fiscal year.

Vehicles remained strong, with 253,981 vehicles rolled across the docks of Columbus Street Terminal, up 27% compared to last year. Of these vehicles, 23,096 were handled in June alone, a 60.7% increase year-over-year.

The port authority’s two inland ports also set cargo records for the fiscal year, with a combined 192,844 rail moves, up 11.7%. Inland Port Greer rail moves increased 12.6%, while Inland Port Dillon increased 7.9%.

For June, Inland Port Greer reported 13,383 rail moves, and Inland Port Dillon recorded 2,593 rail moves.

“We have planned our capacity well for the next decade and beyond with the infrastructure that we are delivering,” Newsome said. “In fiscal year 2022, we will continue to invest in our port to provide more capacity and reliability for our customers as we grow above the market. We have the best team and maritime community to accomplish our goals in the year ahead.”


Reach Alexandria Ng at 843-849-3124.

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