December 18, 2019

SC Ports in strong position heading into 2020

Wando Welch Terminal was named No. 1 for productivity. (Photo/S.C. Ports Authority)

CHARLESTON, SC -- DEC. 18, 2019 -- South Carolina Ports Authority has seen steady growth across multiple business segments in 2019, handling nearly 2.25 million twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) since January.

"We continue to attract cargo with our efficiently run terminals and reliable service," SCPA President and CEO Jim Newsome said. "This is made possible by our excellent team and the broader maritime community, all of whom work tirelessly to keep cargo moving seamlessly through our supply chain."

S.C. Ports saw strong cargo volumes at container, breakbulk and inland terminals in November.

SCPA handled 184,928 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) at the Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals last month. This brings the total TEUs handled thus far in fiscal year 2020, from July through November, to 1.04 million -- a 6% increase year-over-year.

As measured by the total number of boxes handled, SCPA moved 104,324 pier containers in November. The Port has handled 588,873 pier containers in fiscal year 2020, which is up nearly 5% from a year ago.

SCPA also handled 63,252 pier tons in November, up 28% year-over-year. Vehicle imports and exports at Columbus Street Terminal totaled 19,933 last month, a 17% increase from a year ago.

Beyond the oceanside terminals, S.C. Ports runs two very successful inland ports in the Upstate and Pee Dee regions of South Carolina. The inland ports use overnight rail to move cargo to and from the Port of Charleston, giving cargo owners in the Southeast and Midwest direct access to the Port.

Inland Port Greer reported 9,370 rail moves in November, while Inland Port Dillon saw 2,410 rail moves last month. Combined, the inland ports handled 11,780 rail moves in November for a total of 77,445 rail moves thus far in fiscal year 2020, up 27% year-over-year.

S.C. Ports looks to further grow retail volumes and recruit distribution centers to South Carolina to handle the influx of imports to the Southeast.

"Looking ahead to 2020, we expect to continue weathering uncertainty in the world economy, but our strong position in the Southeast and proximity to a booming consumer market will drive growth," Newsome said. "We expect to grow above the market as more cargo shifts from West Coast to East Coast ports."

During a board meeting today, SCPA Board Chairman Bill Stern congratulated S.C. Ports on receiving international recognition for performance and overall productivity. The Journal of Commerce ranked both the Port of Charleston and Wando Welch Terminal No. 1 for productivity among North American midsized ports.

"The equipment operators at S.C. Ports and all those working in the maritime community enable the notable productivity that cargo owners have come to rely on at S.C. Ports," Stern said.

Newsome also thanked the SCPA Board of Directors for their time and service to the Port. The board unanimously approved the reelection of board officers for the next two years: Stern as board chairman, Dave Posek as vice chairman, Kurt Grindstaff as treasurer and Willie Jeffries as secretary.

"We appreciate the board's continued support of our investments that enable us to service some of the biggest ships in the world," Newsome said. "This next year is critical as we progress on our momentous infrastructure investments, including a new container terminal and a 52-foot deep harbor, both set for completion in 2021."

About South Carolina Ports Authority
South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA), 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 annual economic activity. SCPA is soon to be home to the deepest harbor on the U.S. East Coast at 52 feet, and the Port 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. For more information on SCPA, please visit