Port operations support 1 in 10 jobs for South Carolinians

Columbia, SC - South Carolina Ports Authority’s reach goes well beyond the Port of Charleston with 25% of its economic impact happening in the Midlands.

S.C. Ports Authority (SCPA) makes a $15.6 billion annual economic impact in the Midlands and creates 55,000 jobs in the region, according to a new Economic Impact Study from the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business.

Customers from around the state rely on S.C. Ports to do business. (Photo/S.C. Ports Authority)
Customers from around the state rely on S.C. Ports to do business. (Photo/S.C. Ports Authority)
Statewide, S.C. Ports makes a $63.4 billion annual economic impact and creates 1 in 10 S.C. jobs, or roughly 225,000 jobs statewide. 

The study shows that 25% of the statewide economic impact associated with S.C. Ports is concentrated within the Midlands, said Joey Von Nessen, research economist at the University of South Carolina and the study author.

“S.C. Ports is one of South Carolina’s most vital resources,” Von Nessen said. “Port operations create high-paying jobs and attract port-dependent businesses to locate or expand throughout the state. South Carolina’s success is intrinsically tied to S.C. Ports Authority’s continued growth.”

Port operations account for 10% of the state’s economy and generate

$1.1 billion in tax revenue annually for the state, the study found.

“S.C. Ports Authority has further established itself as one of our state’s premier economic drivers, creating 1 in 10 jobs and a $63.4 billion annual economic impact on South Carolina,” Gov. Henry McMaster said.

Port and port-related jobs pay an average of $57,000, roughly 32% higher than the state’s average income.

Port operations and all associated activities correspond to $3.1 billion in wages and salaries for Midlands residents that would otherwise not exist, the study found.

“SCPA supports businesses and manufacturers as they invest in South Carolina,” Von Nessen said. “This ultimately leads to new jobs and higher wages, as well as disposable income being spent in communities and the recruitment of suppliers — all of which propels S.C.’s economy forward.”

S.C. Ports serves as a key competitive advantage for the state and supports the state’s thriving business community by connecting S.C. companies to global markets.

“The S.C. Ports Authority enables Michelin to seamlessly and efficiently import materials to our network of plants around the state and export tires to global markets,” said Alexis Garcin, chairman and president of Michelin North America. “Access to an efficient supply chain and port facilities is a key element of Michelin’s long-term success in South Carolina, ultimately creating more jobs for residents of our state.”

S.C. Ports plans to further grow and diversify its cargo base, in part by supporting economic development efforts for manufacturers, retailers and distribution centers.

“Over the past 10 years as CEO, I have seen the Port grow significantly, which creates a positive impact on our state’s economy and on South Carolinians,” SCPA President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “The Port generates revenue, creates great jobs and helps companies expand in South Carolina.”

SCPA remains focused on completing major infrastructure projects by the end of 2021, including modernizing Wando Welch Terminal, building the Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. Terminal in North Charleston and deepening Charleston Harbor to 52 feet.