Port of Charleston February container throughput increases 9pc

2012 03 23

THE Port of Charleston achieved a 9.2 per cent increase in container volume handled in February compared to the same month last year.

Charleston Port handled 119,052 TEU in February, representing 5.8 per cent growth compared to the previous month, largely on the strength of loaded exports.

"We are experiencing a very balanced trade between import and export containers, which is a credit to the companies in South Carolina and across the southeast that are competing well in the global marketplace," said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority.

A statement from port authorities said that Charleston was one of only two of the nation's top 10 container ports that experienced a rise in inbound cargo in February, according to trade intelligence company Zepol Corporation.

Volume for the fiscal year to date (July 2011 through February 2012) remained relatively flat, with a 0.9 per cent increase over the same period the last fiscal year.

At the same time, the SCPA's non-container business segment in Charleston and Georgetown showed double and triple-digit gains.

Breakbulk volume in Charleston, which totalled 62,680 tons, rose 41.9 per cent in February compared to the same month a year earlier, while cargo volume in the Port of Georgetown increased nearly fourfold to 74,083 tons. Total breakbulk volume in February at the two ports was more than double the volume handled in February 2011.

With increased demand in the SCPA's non-container business, the board has authorized the agency to proceed with contract negotiations with Charleston Heavy Lift on the construction of a new, barge-mounted heavy lift crane.

The new crane would be used exclusively in the Port of Charleston in handling oversized and overweight project cargo across the docks. The SCPA said it would contribute up to US$2.5 million to the project for dedicated access over the life of the crane.

The SCPA also said it has completed $23 million in upgrades to Columbus Street Terminal to handle its non-container business, including automobiles made in South Carolina and heavy project cargo requiring on-dock rail.

The board also approved a $525,000 contract for maintenance berth dredging at Veterans Terminal, a 110-acre non-container facility at the Port of Charleston located on the former US Navy Base site.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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