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Charleston welcomes largest ever ships as US East Coast powers on

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The Port of Charleston handled the three biggest container ships in its history in April 2020, according to the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA).

In a statement, the SCPA said the 13,200-TEU OOCL Chongqing, the 14,000-TEU Monaco Bridge and the 14,000-TEU APL Sentosa all called while the Port handled 176,152 TEU last month.

That figure took the total amount of volume to move through the Port to 2 million TEU in the fiscal year July-April.

Additionally, it also saw 148,291 rail moves, an increase of 8%; this suggests it remains highly integrated into the regional and national supply chain, and vital to the southeastern US economy.

“As we face the challenges brought on by COVID-19, we continue to operate as we always have by offering excellent service and an unwavering spirit of collaboration,” S.C. Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome said.

“Our S.C. Ports team is known for adaptability, creativity and teamwork, and this has been more evident now than ever. I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the essential maritime workers who work so hard every day to ensure vital goods are delivered to communities and businesses.”

This is particularly noteworthy as many US ports struggle with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also consistent with a trend that shows ports on the US east coast outperforming those on the west.

On 11 May the National Retail Federation (NRF), predicted US imports will continue to fall throughout 2020 compared to 2019. Many of the country’s biggest gateways have seen their TEU traffic crash.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have both seen their traffic fall as trade with China decreases, first due to the trade war between Washington and Beijing and then by the decline of vessels.

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