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S.C. Ports reports record cargo volumes

Distribution & Logistics
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The Wando Welch Terminal is viewed from the air. The S.C. Ports Authority reported a 13% increase in the number of pier containers moved in August compared to last year. (Photo/file)The S.C. Ports Authority continued its streak of record-breaking activity last month, reporting its best monthly container volumes on record in August.

The ports authority handled 233,110 TEUs — an industry measurement equivalent to a 20-foot container — at the Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals last month, up 13% from the year before. The port has handled 443,652 TEUs thus far in the fiscal year, which started July 1; that’s up 9% from the first two months of last year.

Measured by the total number of boxes handled, regardless of size, the port moved 132,233 pier containers in August, up 13% from a year ago.

The port moved 58,966 break-bulk tons last month, up 43% from a year ago, and 19,032 vehicles at Columbus Street Terminal, up 45% from last year. The increase in vehicles is in part because of the Volvo Cars facility in Berkeley County, which opened in September 2018.

Inland Port Greer reported 14,854 rail moves in August, up 24% from a year ago, and Inland Port Dillon, now in its second year of operation, had 3,204 rail moves, up 60% from last year.

“As the East Coast port market continues to grow, we are well positioned to handle more cargo,” said S.C Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome in a news release.

At an S.C. Ports Authority board meeting earlier this month, Walter Lagarenne provided the board with an update on the Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. Terminal in North Charleston, on track to open in spring 2021 in conjunction with the completion of the Charleston Harbor deepening project.

Half of the piles have been driven for phase one of the new terminal. The 134-acre first phase will have a 1,400-foot wharf, five 169-foot-tall ship-to-shore cranes and 25 hybrid rubber tired gantry cranes, purchased earlier this year.

Full buildout of the, 286-acre three-berth Leatherman terminal is expected to be completed in 2032, with the capacity to handle 2.4 million TEUs of cargo.

“Achieving these long-term, crucial infrastructure projects will ensure we have the capacity to the handle cargo increases that accompany larger ships calling on the Port,” Newsome said.

Reach Patrick Hoff at 843-849-3144.

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