Three stevedoring companies that serve the Port of Charleston have formed a joint venture to provide container terminal and stevedoring services more efficiently.
Marine Terminals Corp. – East, known as Ports America; Ceres Marine Terminals Inc.; and SSA Atlantic LLC have been serving the port independently but will now work cooperatively as Charleston Stevedoring Co.
At the Port of Charleston, stevedores are responsible for overseeing vessel operations and managing labor.
“So they receive the vessel stowage from the actual steamship line or the vessel operator and coordinate the game plan of how to most efficiently work that ship within the labor rules,” said Joel Britt, director of container operations for the S.C. Ports Authority.
Barbara Melvin, COO of the ports authority, said the joint venture had been in the works for over a year.
“From the port’s perspective, what we want to see out of this is better coordination among a provider in the maritime industry to a mutual customer of ours, which is the ocean carrier, better utilization of our assets and better productivity for the movement of freight on and off the vessel,” Melvin said.
She added that although it’s unusual for competing companies to come together like this, the consolidation of ocean carriers in the maritime industry has shown companies some of the benefits that can be achieved by working together.
Charleston Stevedoring Co. will service containers only, with the three separate stevedore companies continuing to service break-bulk cargo and cruise operations.
“The new entity will provide significant benefits to the Port of Charleston, including improved container terminal services through the consolidated operations at all berths, as well as more efficient vessel turn times and improved equipment utilization,” Dan Hall, president of Charleston Stevedoring Co., said in a news release. “The combined company will optimize use of terminal capacity and improve integration between terminal, vessel and gate operations.”