Container traffic hits highest levels for five years
Container traffic at the Port of Charleston continued to rise in April, with the South Carolinian port reporting a nine percent increase in trade over the same month last year.
The port moved a total of 134,718 TEU at its two box facilities, up 17 percent on volumes handled in 2011.
“Our volume continues to grow above the market, and we must continue our aggressive sales efforts as we heavily invest in our port’s infrastructure,” said president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA), Jim Newsome.
In the fiscal year thus far, July through April, container volumes currently stand at around 10 percent above that of the same period a year earlier and represents the highest fiscal year to date figures for five years. The Port of Charleston has handled 1,295,717 TEU during the past 10 months, compared to 1,178,843 TEU in the 2012 fiscal year.
The month of April also saw the first Maersk ship with a capacity of more than 8,000 TEU call the Port of Charleston, with the 1,155-foot-long Axel Maersk calling on April 1st.
“With new service deployments beginning in June, and additional large vessels calling our port this month, we expect a solid finish to the fiscal year,” added Newsome.
Non-containerised cargo for its part was also on the up during April, with the Union Pier Terminal reporting a strong month of both breakbulk activity and bulk project cargo related to a local paving project. The SCPA’s non-containerized facilities in Charleston and Georgetown handled 155,842 tonnes of cargo in April, a 42 percent increase from the same month last year.
Meanwhile, on April 30, the US Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, along with the SCPA, hosted a meeting updating the public about progress of Charleston’s Post 45 Harbor Deepening Project. LTC Ed Chamberlayne and Corps staff members shared information about the environmental, economic, and engineering aspects the deepening study, which is ahead of the originally projected schedule and under initial budget estimates. A “We Can’t Wait” project as designated by the President, Charleston’s feasibility study and necessary reviews are to be completed by September 2015.
The SCPA is also building an inland port in Greer to enhance freight movement to and from a key area for the port’s customers in the region. Additionally, the SCPA is constructing a new container terminal on the former Charleston Navy Base in North Charleston to boost container capacity by 50 percent at full build out.