Container volume in the Port of Charleston rose 12 percent in March, the strongest month for containerized traffic at the port since October 2008.
According to figures released by the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA), Charleston handled 134,857 TEU in March, up 12 percent from the same month last year and up 13 percent from February.
“We continue to work hard to grow our cargo volumes above the market and attract new shipping services to our ports,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the SCPA.
For the fiscal year to date, Charleston volumes are up by just over two percent, while container volume for the first quarter of 2012 increased seven percent, when compared to the first quarter of 2011.
“There is no turning back on the big ship trend, and we’re seeing how harbor depth and access can influence carriers’ service decisions,” Newsome said, referring to Charleston’s deep shipping channels and post-45 harbor deepening project, which is currently underway.
At the same time, the SCPA’s non-containerized cargo figures remain strong, with the Port of Charleston handling 111,236 pier tonnes of non-containerized freight in March, up 53 percent from the same month last year.
The SCPA completed last year a $23-million improvement project at that terminal to support the growth of non-containerized cargo.
In the Port of Georgetown, pier tonnes were up 37 percent, with 34,119 tonnes handled across the docks. Petroleum coke and bulk cement continue to be the largest commodities handled at the port.