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Port reports best calendar year in history

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The S.C. Ports Authority reported that 2019 was the best calendar year in its history. (Photo/File)

Despite global trade tensions, the S.C. Ports Authority says 2019 was the best calendar year in its history.

The port handled 2.44 million TEUs — an industry measurement equivalent to a 20-foot container — last year, a 5% year-over-year increase. Measured by total number of boxes handled, the port handled 1.38 million pier containers in 2019 at the Wando Welch and North Charleston terminals.

Break-bulk cargo was up nearly 10% in 2019, with 725,828 pier tons handled, and vehicles handled was up 4% to 225,191.

“We enter 2020 with a great decade of growth behind us, during which we doubled our volumes, tripled our asset base and added more than 200 people to our team,” port President and CEO Jim Newsome said in a news release. “Our cargo growth and efficient terminals are only made possible through the dedication of our team and the broader maritime community.”

Last month, the port handled 187,882 TEUs at the Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals. Since the start of the fiscal year in July, the port has handled 1.23 million TEUs, a 4% year-over-year increase. The port moved 105,783 pier containers in December, for a total of 694,656 pier containers moved this fiscal year.

S.C. Ports has also seen strong growth in break-bulk and vehicle cargo, the agency said. The port handled 45,816 pier tons in December, for a total of 356,179 pier tons so far in the fiscal year, up 39% from this time last year. The port moved 16,436 vehicles at the Columbus Street Terminal last month, for a total of 115,607 vehicles thus far in fiscal year 2020, up nearly 36%.

Inland Port Greer reported 10,735 rail moves last month, bringing its fiscal year total to nearly 75,000 — a year-over-year increase of 23%. Inland Port Dillon, now in its second year of operation, reported 3,027 rail moves in December for a total of nearly 17,000 rail moves this fiscal year, a 32% year-over-year increase.

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