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Port cargo volumes continue upward trend

Distribution & Logistics
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The S.C. Ports Authority continued its trend of year-over-year cargo growth in October.

The ports moved 217,360 TEUs — an industry measurement equivalent to a 20-foot container — at the Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals last month, up 5.2% from October 2018. The port has moved 855,959 TEUs since the fiscal year began in July, a 7.3% increase year over year.

Measured by the total number of boxes handled, regardless of size, the port moved 122,591 pier containers in October, down 1.6% from October 2018. The ports authority has moved 484,549 pier containers this fiscal year, up 6.6% from this time last year.

The ports authority handled 20,986 vehicles at the Columbus Street Terminal last month, for a total of 79,238 vehicles this fiscal year. The port also moved 61,305 pier tons of break-bulk cargo in October, for a total of 247,111 pier tons handled since July. Vehicle cargo is up 36% year over year and break-bulk cargo is up 43%.

The state’s inland ports also performed well in October, with Inland Port Greer handling 11,849 rail moves last month and Inland Port Dillon handling 2,484 rail moves. Greer has handled 54,514 rail moves this fiscal year and Dillon has handled 11,151 rail moves.

“We have seen strong volumes in early fiscal year 2020, with growth across multiple business segments,” S.C. Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome said in a news release. “While we face some uncertainty in the global market, we are working to further grow and diversify our cargo base to ensure continued success.”

Newsome has said that the ports authority sees opportunity in distribution, especially with the growth of e-commerce and omnichannel distribution. The port has doubled its cargo volumes over the past decade, which it attributes mainly to the growth in South Carolina’s advanced manufacturing industry, but Newsome said the port cannot rely on manufacturing again for the next 10 years.

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