April 6, 2021

SC Ports records strongest monthly volumes in its history

SC Ports reported an all-time container record for March. (Photo/SC Ports/English Purcell)

CHARLESTON, SC — APRIL 6, 2021 — South Carolina Ports handled the most cargo in its history in March, with the Port of Charleston handling record volumes as the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal begins operations.

SC Ports reported an all-time container record for March, moving 248,796 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) across the Port of Charleston’s Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals. This is up 34% year-over-year — a significant increase from last March.

The previous container record was set in August 2019, with 233,110 TEUs handled at the port. Fiscal-year-to-date, SC Ports has handled 1.86 million TEUs from July through March.

SC Ports handled 137,855 pier containers — which account for cargo boxes of any size — in March, which is a 31.3% increase year-over-year. SC Ports has handled nearly 1.036 million pier containers thus far in fiscal year 2021.

“SC Ports moved more cargo than ever before in March. This significant achievement leads up to another historic milestone as we prepare to welcome the first ship to the Leatherman Terminal on Friday,” SC Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “Our all-time container record reinforces that we are adding more capacity to the Port of Charleston at the right time. The state-of-the-art Leatherman Terminal will add 700,000 TEUs of throughput capacity and a 1,400-foot berth to the East Coast port market when it is most needed.”

Loaded imports were up nearly 50% in March at the Port of Charleston. The booming Southeast population and pandemic-driven lifestyle shifts continue to drive retail imports, including home goods, furniture, electronics, exercise equipment, and fresh produce and refrigerated foods.

Loaded exports were up 8.2% in March as advanced manufacturers and automotive companies see steady demand for their products across global markets. SC Ports handled more than 22,000 vehicles at Columbus Street Terminal in March.

Inland Port Greer reported its busiest month in history with 16,688 rail moves in March, up 20.3% from last March. Fiscal-year-to-date, Inland Port Greer has handled 119,460 rail moves, up nearly 5% from the same time a year prior.

Inland Port Greer extends the Port of Charleston’s reach 212 miles inland via rail, and 94 million consumers can be reached within a one-day truck trip from the inland terminal.

Inland Port Dillon reported nearly 3,000 rail moves in March. Fiscal-year-to-date, Inland Port Dillon has handled 27,549 rail moves, up 12.4% from the same time a year prior.

“These impressive volumes highlight our efficient operations and the strength of our entire maritime community, which works as a team to keep the supply chain fluid during a global pandemic and amid unprecedented demand,” Newsome said. “We look forward to offering the same reliable service and additional capacity to our customers as we welcome ships to the Leatherman Terminal. SC Ports is proud to open the first container terminal in the U.S. since 2009 in South Carolina.”

Leatherman Terminal
The modern Leatherman Terminal has five ship-to-shore cranes with 169 feet of lift height above the wharf deck and 25 hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes. (Photo/SC Ports/Walter Lagarenne)

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.