For the third consecutive year, the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SPA) has set a new volume record.
In 2005, the SPA’s facilities in the Port of Charleston handled 1.98 million teus, up 6% from 2004. The SPA’s breakbulk and bulk cargo through Charleston, Georgetown and Port Royal totaled 1.9 million tons, up 2% from 2004. ‘Even with rising volume, Charleston’s productivity remains world-class,’ said Bernard S. Groseclose Jr., the SPA’s president and chief executive officer. Port-wide crane productivity is running at 38 moves per hour and the median truck turn time was 23 minutes in December.
‘We’ve made some major investments to expand capacity,’ said Groseclose. ‘Looking ahead this year, we’ll see the benefits of new equipment and the new bridge, along with real progress on port expansion.’
To meet and stay ahead of increasing customer demands, in September the SPA placed orders for $64 million in new cranes, stacking equipment and improvements. The first new units begin arriving in June.
North America’s largest cable-stayed bridge was completed in Charleston last year, and by mid-March contractors will remove the old bridges, making way for the world’s next generation of ships.
To handle long-term growth needs, the SPA is eyeing two major expansion projects. Permits are expected this August for a new 280-acre container terminal on the former Charleston Naval Complex. The SPA is currently evaluating three proposals from companies interested in participating in the project.
In addition, the SPA board announced early last year that it would pursue development of a new container terminal on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River in Jasper County.
The state’s General Assembly also approved a new international trade incentive program last year, and a number of manufacturers and DCs announced new facilities in South Carolina, including DaimlerChrysler, Union Underwear, Global Building Solutions, Interwrap, FoodHandler and QVC.