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April container volume up 9% in Charleston
Continuing its growth trajectory, container volume in the Port of Charleston was up nine percent in April compared to the same month last year, with 134,718 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) handled at the port’s two container terminals. April 2013 represented a more than 17 percent increase from the same month two years ago.
“Our volume continues to grow above the market, and we must continue our aggressive sales efforts as we heavily invest in our port’s infrastructure,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the SCPA. The SCPA is building an inland port in Greer, SC to enhance freight movement to and from a key area for the port’s customers in the region. Additionally, the SCPA is constructing a new container terminal on the former Charleston Navy Base in North Charleston to boost container capacity by 50 percent at full build out.
In the fiscal year to date (July through April), container volume was 10 percent ahead of the same period last year and represents the highest fiscal year to date in five years. The Port of Charleston moved 1,295,717 TEUs during the past 10 months, compared to 1,178,843 TEUs in fiscal year 2012.
“With new service deployments beginning in June, and additional large vessels calling our port this month, we expect a solid finish to the fiscal year,” Newsome said.
Non-containerized cargo tonnage spiked in April, in part from increased breakbulk activity at Union Pier Terminal as well as bulk project cargo related to a large-scale, local paving project. The SCPA’s non-containerized facilities in Charleston and Georgetown handled 155,842 tons of cargo in April, a 42 percent increase from the same month last year. Pier tons at the two ports totaled 1,361,036 tons of bulk and breakbulk cargo from July to April, a 17 percent gain from the same period in fiscal year 2012.
The month of April also saw the first Maersk ship of more than 8,000-TEU capacity to call the Port of Charleston, with the 1,155-foot-long Axel Maersk call on April 1.
On April 30, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, along with the SCPA, hosted a meeting updating the public about progress of Charleston’s Post 45 Harbor Deepening Project. LTC Ed Chamberlayne and Corps staff members shared information about the environmental, economic, and engineering aspects the deepening study, which is ahead of the originally projected schedule and under initial budget estimates. A “We Can’t Wait” project as designated by the President, Charleston’s feasibility study and necessary reviews are to be completed by September 2015.
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