Charleston, SC – With nearly three million tons of forest products
crossing its piers over the past year, the Port of Charleston continues to be a
major player in the forest products trade.
In a recent 12-month period, Charleston moved 2.8 million tons of paper,
paper products, woodpulp and lumber products. The volume was overwhelmingly
export, with outbound shipments comprising 70% of volume and paper products
leading the way.
Charleston features approximately 40 liner carriers serving 140 countries, so
it’s not surprising that 90% of the port’s forest products business is
containerized. Even so, the percentage of breakbulk forest products continues to
rise as a result of several major initiatives.
The South Carolina State Ports Authority Board recently directed management
to shelve commercial redevelopment plans for portions of Union Pier Terminal in
downtown Charleston, a move that provides additional warehousing space for
longer-term transloading service agreements.
Charleston currently features more than 1.5 million square of warehouse and
transit shed space, including rail siding and access to both Norfolk Southern
and CSX railroads at all warehouses. The Ports Authority is an operating port,
allowing it to offer flexible, competitive transloading services.
Another valued-added service is bar-coded information exchange systems for
inventory tracking. Charleston is developing a port-wide breakbulk cargo
tracking system and expects it to be operational in the near future.
Charleston is also enhancing its forest products handling capacity with
expansion onto the former Charleston Naval Shipyard. Base realignment and
closure has resulted in an opportunity for the Port to acquire additional
storage capacity and berthing space. The first agreement signed late last year
provides more than 100 acres of open storage, covered storage and three piers.
FY99 vs. FY00 – Measured in TEUs