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January box volume up nearly 8% at Port of Charleston
Container volume in the Port of Charleston rose 7.7 percent in January compared to the same month last year, with 121,286 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) handled last month.Container volume for the first seven months of the fiscal year rose more than 11 percent to 892,487 TEUs handled from July to January, up from 801,495 TEUs last year.
South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) President and CEO Jim Newsome noted during the regular Board meeting that the container business has been growing well above the market in recent months.
“In 2012, North American container port volumes were up two percent overall, while Charleston grew 10 percent,” Newsome shared. “We will continue to focus hard on growing our cargo base. This includes discretionary cargo, such as agricultural products that can be transloaded to containers at or near the port.”
Newsome also noted that several ocean carriers are planning service changes that will benefit Charleston by adding a call or by deploying larger ships.
“This is the time of year when carriers look at realigning services or upsizing their vessels on existing services. Any line that has big ships will deploy them anywhere they can,” Newsome said. “We should begin to see some impact from new or upsized services later this spring.”
The SCPA’s non-containerized business showed similar strength last month. Breakbulk pier tonnage spiked 93 percent in January, with 173,306 tons of freight handled in the ports of Charleston and Georgetown. In the fiscal year to date, non-containerized cargo is tracking 30 percent ahead of the same period last year. The two ports combined have handled more than 1 million tons of breakbulk in the first seven months of the fiscal year.
“The non-containerized cargo segment is a growth market for us,” he said. “It is essential for a port to diversify its business, and breakbulk is a big part of that.”
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