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Port sees busiest fiscal year ever

Distribution & Logistics
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The Wando Welch Terminal recently underwent a massive renovation to its three berths. (Photo/S.C. Ports Authority)The Port of Charleston saw its busiest cargo volumes in its history during fiscal 2018, which ended June 30, S.C. Ports Authority CEO Jim Newsome said during the latest board meeting.

Newsome said the end of the year marked the port’s highest cargo volumes to-date, with a record number of boxes coming through in the past three out of four months. The port moved 115,696 pier containers last month, up 11.2% from the same period last year.

From July 2017 through June, the port terminals handled 2.20 million TEUs, a common industry measurement representing 20-foot equivalent boxes. This is up 2.9% from fiscal 2017.

The port handled 1.25 million pier containers, or boxes of any size, during fiscal 2018, up 3.6% from the year prior.

Breakbulk cargo is down year-over-year. Newsome said the decrease is mostly from BMW shipping fewer vehicles as it prepares to build a new car model at its plant in Greer. This decline also impacted volumes at the Inland Port in Greer, which moves cars via train from the Upstate car plant to Columbus Street Terminal along East Bay Street.

The Port of Charleston is ranked No. 9 among the top 10 U.S. container ports when measuring TEU volumes, according to the American Association of Port Authorities. Charleston grew 8% from fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2017. The Port of Savannah, which was ranked No. 4 nationally, grew 7% during that period.

Fiscal 2018 results (July 2017–June 2018):



% change from FY17

Total TEUs

2.20 million


Total pier containers

1.25 million


Charleston break-bulk tons






Cruise passengers



Ships docked



Inland Port Greer rail moves



Source: S.C. Ports Authority
*Fiscal year 2018 year-end financial data will not be ready until the board meeting in August

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.

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