A cargo ship filled with goods sails through Charleston Harbor. South Carolina now has the deepest harbor on the U.S. East Coast at 52 feet. (Photo/Provided by Matthew Peacock Media)

South Carolina Ports finished the fiscal year 2023 with steady container volumes and stellar activity at its rail-served inland ports.

In fiscal year 2023, SC Ports handled nearly 2.6 million TEUs and 1.4 million pier containers. While this is down about 10% from fiscal year 2022 — when pandemic spending spurred an unprecedented cargo boom — volumes are up 1% from fiscal year 2021, a much more typical year.

In June, SC Ports handled 203,091 TEUs and 112,883 pier containers, up more than 3% year-over-year. Retail, advanced manufacturing, automotive, and cold storage sectors continue to drive growth at the Port of Charleston.

“SC Ports provides reliable, efficient service for companies’ supply chains,” SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin said. “Port-dependent businesses will continue to invest in South Carolina to gain access to a well-run port with capacity in the booming Southeast market.”

Inland Port Dillon had a record fiscal year in 2023, handling 39,143 rail moves, which is an impressive 50% increase from the year prior. Inland Port Greer also had a strong fiscal year, with 146,813 rail moves, down about 3% year-over-year.

Both rail-served inland ports handled record June volumes. Inland Port Dillon recorded 4,048 rail moves, up 139% from last year. Inland Port Greer had its busiest June ever, with 14,887 rail moves, up 24% year-over-year.

The cruise business also had a strong year with a record 294,136 cruise passengers coming through Union Pier Terminal in fiscal year 2023.

SC Ports had 188,517 vehicles rolling across its docks in fiscal year 2023, which is a 14% decrease from the year prior. Over the past three months, however, SC Ports has seen organic growth of automotive volumes, with exports increasing to meet international demand. In June, SC Ports moved 15,375 vehicles, a 20% increase year-over-year.

“In fiscal year 2023, we efficiently moved cargo while significantly expanding our capabilities for the future,” Melvin said. “We broke ground on a near-port, rail-served cargo yard, further expanded Inland Port Greer and successfully deepened Charleston Harbor to 52 feet. Our strategic investments make us more competitive for the future.”