July 13, 2021

SC Ports achieves highest fiscal year on record for containers handled

South Carolina Ports achieved a record fiscal year 2021 for cargo handled, while delivering much-needed port infrastructure and capacity. (Photo/SCPA/Walter Lagarenne)

CHARLESTON, SC — JULY 13, 2021 — South Carolina Ports celebrates its strongest fiscal year on record for containers handled at the Port of Charleston.

SC Ports handled 2.55 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) at Wando Welch Terminal, North Charleston Terminal and Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal in fiscal year 2021, ended June 30 — a 9.6% increase from fiscal year 2020.

SC Ports moved 1.42 million pier containers, which measures containers of any size, in fiscal year 2021. This is up 7.7% from the prior fiscal year.

Vehicles remained a strong business segment, with 253,981 vehicles rolling across the docks of Columbus Street Terminal in fiscal year 2021, up 27.0% compared to the year prior.

SC Ports two rail-served inland ports set cargo records in fiscal year 2021, with a combined 192,844 rail moves recorded, up 11.7% from a year ago. Inland Port Greer moved 157,842 rail moves in fiscal year 2021, up 12.6%, while Inland Port Dillon had 35,002 rail moves, up nearly 7.9%.

When fiscal year 2021 started last July, many businesses and ports were impacted from pandemic closures. This was soon followed by an unanticipated boom in imports as consumers’ buying habits shifted from services and travel to retail and home goods.

SC Ports saw strength in containerized, vehicle and inland port business segments throughout fiscal year 2021, including achieving record monthly year-over-year container volumes for the past four consecutive months.

“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,” SC Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome. “They are keeping freight moving while handling unprecedented cargo increases. We owe them much gratitude for their hard work over the past year.”

June volumes

In addition to a record fiscal year, SC Ports had a record June for its container business segment. SC Ports moved 231,758 TEUs in June, which is up 48.1% compared to June 2020 and up 15.6% compared to June 2019.

The Port of Charleston handled 128,622 pier containers in June, a 44.5% increase from June 2020 and a 13.8% increase compared to June 2019.

SC Ports had a strong month for vehicles. The Port handled 23,096 vehicles in June, a 60.7% increase year-over-year and a 25.3% jump from June 2019.

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

Investing in capacity

SC Ports had a milestone year for bringing infrastructure online and adding capacity to the U.S. East Coast port market at a time when it is most needed.

Phase One of Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal began operations in March, marking the first greenfield container terminal to open in the U.S. since 2009. Leatherman Terminal adds a 1,400-foot berth and 700,000 TEUs of capacity to the Port of Charleston.

SC Ports also kicked off an expansion at Inland Port Greer, further enhanced Wando Welch Terminal, and saw significant progress with the 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.”

Cargo owners need a reliable supply chain as demand for goods continues. SC Ports enters fiscal year 2022 with enhanced infrastructure and ample capacity to handle rising retail imports and cargo volumes.

“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.”

About South Carolina Ports Authority

South Carolina Ports Authority, established by the state's General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport and intermodal facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer. As an economic development engine for the state, Port operations facilitate 225,000 statewide jobs and generate nearly $63.4 billion in annual economic activity. SC Ports is soon to be home to the deepest harbor on the U.S. East Coast at 52 feet. SC Ports is an industry leader in delivering speed-to-market, seamless processes and flexibility to ensure reliable operations, big ship handling, efficient market reach and environmental responsibility. Please visit www.scspa.com to learn more about SC Ports.