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South Carolina Ports Authority starts fiscal year with strong numbers

Ross Norton //August 22, 2023//

South Carolina Ports Authority starts fiscal year with strong numbers

Ross Norton //August 22, 2023//

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South Carolina’s ports help keep freight moving for the booming Southeast market. (Photo/Walter Lagarenne, SCPA) South Carolina Ports enters fiscal year 2024 with numbers that continue to reflect a vigorous port operation as well as strength in the regional economy.

S.C. Ports handled 208,134 TEUs and 115,422 pier containers in July, according to a news release from the S.C. Ports Authority. TEU is a shipping industry measurement meaning 20-foot equivalent unit. Containers that take up most of the trailer on a tractor-trailer are 40-feet long.

Imports flowing into the Port of Charleston outperformed U.S. volumes with a 12% increase from June and a 3% increase year-over-year, the news release said. Exports were up 9% from last year.

Total container volume was down about 4% year-over-year in July, which the Ports Authority said was driven by lower exports of empty containers.

“Although overall volumes continue to reflect the tempered U.S. economy, the Southeast is booming and the U.S. East Coast port market continues to attract new cargo,” S.C. Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin said in the release. “S.C. Ports is a powerhouse port on the East Coast with a reputation for providing reliable port service. We quickly work ships and efficiently move cargo for our customers.”

Related article: Charleston home to deepest harbor on East Coast after $580M project

While manufacturing and retail remain down in the United States, the Ports Authority says the Southeast market is thriving with an influx of new residents and industrial growth. Port-dependent companies are investing in manufacturing facilities, electric vehicle operations and retail distribution centers.

These investments are expected to drive S.C. Ports’ cargo growth at a higher rate than national trends, the release said. The ports authority has invested more than $2 billion into critical port infrastructure and is currently building a $400 million intermodal yard to provide near-port rail to the Port of Charleston.

S.C. Ports’ two rail-served inland ports continue to yield strong volumes, handling a combined 17,724 rail moves in July, which is a 55% increase year-over-year. Inland Port Dillon had a record-breaking July, reporting with 2,919 rail moves. Inland Port Greer also had a strong month with 14,805 rail moves in July.

The S.C. Ports are the eighth largest in the country and the deepest harbor on the East Coast.