SC Ports announce huge container volume growth
SC Ports Announces 14% Container Volume Growth
Breakbulk tonnage exceeds plans by 6 percent; Inland Port achieves record rail moves
CHARLESTON, SC – Container volumes increased 14 percent during SC Ports Authority’s 2015 fiscal year, building upon several previous years of above-market growth with strength across all business segments.
“2015 was a memorable year for SC Ports Authority,” said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome. “We reached near-record levels of containerized cargo and saw strong volume and good diversification of the breakbulk sector. From an operations perspective, highlights of this year include handling the highest ever month of pier containers in May and Inland Port rail moves in June, all while delivering high reliability and logistics efficiencies for our customers.”
SCPA handled 1.9 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) during the fiscal year that ended June 30, a jump of 231,473 TEUs from the 2014 fiscal year. June volumes provided a strong finish to FY2015 with 169,913 TEUs moved during the month.
Pier containers, or box volume, also climbed 14 percent in FY2015 with 138,221 more boxes handled compared to FY2014. SCPA moved 96,916 boxes in June, pushing total fiscal year volume to 1.1 million containers.
“I’m extremely proud of the significant growth we achieved this fiscal year,” said Bill Stern, SCPA Board Chairman. “The SCPA’s continued success is rooted in the leadership of our strong Board, a talented CEO and senior staff, and support from a productive maritime community.”
Strong fundamentals played a key role in the above-market growth of SCPA’s containerized cargo segment. Amidst progress of the Panama Canal expansion and the Bayonne Bridge raising, big ships have transitioned to East Coast trade routes, and SCPA currently receives 11 post-Panamax vessel calls each week. Manufacturing in the Southeast remains strong, and SCPA provides the deep water required to handle ships fully-loaded with heavy exports. The booming automotive sector in the Southeast also supported both import and export volume gains.
Successful recruitment of discretionary cargo played a key role in SCPA’s above-market growth as well. A competitive, broad-based rail market with ample capacity has made SCPA the port of choice for cargo produced beyond the Southeast region, including plastics from the US Gulf and agricultural products from the Midwest. Volume gains of agricultural exports were also driven by local industries such as SC-grown soybeans, whose export volume doubled during the last fiscal year.
“Fiscal year 2015 was marked by a number of exciting economic development announcements representing future volume opportunities for SCPA, including Daimler, Kent Bicycle, Volvo, and most recently, Dollar Tree,” Newsome said. “The port’s ability to serve these companies’ supply chains played a key role in their decision to locate or expand in SC. Our strategic initiative to grow our cargo base is paying off.”
In the non-containerized cargo segment, breakbulk tonnage exceeded fiscal year planned volumes by 6 percent with 1.4 million pier tons handled during the year. Georgetown moved 548,933 tons during the period, while Charleston handled 871,974 tons. Roll-on/roll-off cargo within the breakbulk sector grew significantly, and SCPA achieved the highest finished vehicle volume ever handled at the Columbus Street Terminal. In FY2015, 253,338 vehicles moved across SCPA docks, an increase of 15 percent over the previous record of 219,900 vehicles in FY2008.
Monthly volumes peaked at the Inland Port in June, with 6,736 rail moves handled during the month. The terminal’s first full fiscal year of operations concluded with 58,407 rail moves, which surpasses initial annual volumes projected five years into terminal operations.
In the fiscal year ahead, SCPA expects to continue to grow above the US port market average and focus on increasing revenues to fund its capital projects, including the construction of the Navy Base container terminal by the end of the decade. FY2016 will also be a significant year for deepening the Charleston Harbor to 52 feet, with the Chief’s Report expected in September while the Preconstruction Engineering and Design phase is ongoing, followed by construction.
176 Concord Street, P.O. Box 22287, Charleston, SC 29413-2287
Contact: Erin Dhand, Public Relations Manager
Telephone: 843-577-8121 • Fax: 843-577-8127 • e-mail: EDhand@scspa.com
Obama includes Charleston Harbor deepening funds in budget
By Matt Tomsic
Published April 11, 2013
President Barack Obama included $1.2 million in his fiscal year 2014 budget to continue studying the impacts of deepening Charleston Harbor.
“We are grateful to the administration for including Charleston’s project in the budget for a second year in a row, as well as their commitment of resources to expeditiously advance our project,” said Bill Stern, chairman of the S.C. State Ports Authority Board of Directors. “This funding means that Charleston’s study can proceed to completion with absolutely zero funding restraints as both the federal and the port’s contributions have been fully committed at this point.”
The study is now at its midpoint as the Army Corps of Engineers examines the economic, engineering and environmental impacts of deepening Charleston Harbor beyond its current depth of 45 feet. Ports officials have stressed the need to deepen the harbor to 50 feet, and the Army Corps of Engineers Charleston District is studying a range of depths.
The study is expected to be completed by 2015 and to cost $13 million. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be released in September 2015.
“We have made great strides on the study in the last year and look forward to continuing this as we go forward,” said Lt. Col. Ed Chamberlayne, Charleston District commander. “We have shortened the timeline and reduced the budget for this study in our efforts to complete this process as quickly and efficiently as possible while looking for the most economically beneficial and environmentally acceptable option for the nation.”
Obama included the deepening project in his budget last year and named the harbor deepening as one of five port projects that are critical for the nation’s infrastructure. During the last General Assembly session, state lawmakers set aside $300 million for the estimated cost of construction, which the state and federal government split. The funds set aside by the state will cover both shares.
The budget also included $14.8 million for maintenance costs in the harbor.
In Georgia, Obama included $1.3 million for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project to cover preconstruction, engineering and design costs as that harbor works toward deepening from 42 feet to 47 feet. The total estimated cost of deepening the Savannah River is $652 million.
“This amount certainly falls far short of what we were hoping for, particularly considering the time pressures we face on this project and the 5-to-1 return on investment our nation will begin to receive once this is completed,” said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal in a statement. “With the understanding that we’ll have a 60-40 federal-state split on funding, Georgia has lived up to its promises. We’ve now put aside $231 million, which is a significant portion of our share. The federal government has funded only a small fraction of its obligations, and we would like to see more and quicker progress on this front.”
In Virginia, the president included $800,000 to study the deepening of Norfolk Harbor and other channels. In New York, Obama included $49 million for construction costs at the New York and New Jersey Harbor.