South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) saw strong container volume growth during the first quarter of the 2016 fiscal year, with TEU volumes 9.5 percent higher than the same period last year.
SCPA handled 167,549 TEUs last month, an 11.1 percent increase from September 2014 volumes. Since the 2016 fiscal year began in July, SCPA has moved 513,299 TEUs.
As measured in pier containers, 289,610 boxes have moved across SCPA docks fiscal year to date. Pier container volume is up 8.6 percent from the 266,741 boxes handled during the same period last fiscal year.
"Our growth is indicative of broad-based strength across all market segments," said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome. "While our volumes are likely to see more modest growth than last fiscal year, we expect to continue to experience increases above the U.S. port market average."
Non-containerized cargo was 16.5 percent higher than plan during the first quarter, with 356,746 pier tons handled. In September, Charleston moved 81,137 tons of breakbulk cargo and the Port of Georgetown handled 30,360 tons.
The Inland Port achieved 7,214 rail moves in September, bringing fiscal year-to-date volume to 22,103 moves. The facility's strong volumes are 50.5 percent ahead of plan.
The Board approved SCPA's $1.25 million contribution to the Jasper Ocean Terminal (JOT) Joint Project Office for the 2016 fiscal year work plan. The plan, which includes geological studies and conceptual work on terminal design to by Moffat & Nichol, was approved by the JOT Board of Directors on June 17, 2015.
The Board approved a contract for construction services related to the containment wall structure at the Navy Base Terminal (NBT), as well as two contracts for independent quality reviews of NBT site preparation and construction activities. A design contract for the Wando Welch Terminal refrigerated cargo yard expansion was also approved.
In addition, the Board authorized SCPA to purchase a new forklift for the Inland Port to accommodate the facility's growing cargo volumes.
Naming SCPA's New Container Terminal
The Board voted to name SCPA's new container terminal the Hugh K. Leatherman, Sr. Terminal. The terminal, located on the former Navy Base, is currently the only permitted container terminal under construction on the U.S. East or Gulf Coasts. When it opens in 2020, the facility will increase SCPA's total container volume capacity by 50 percent.
"Our Board, state leaders and elected officials share in the pride of our port system," said SCPA Board Chairman Bill Stern. "President Pro Tempore of the SC Senate Hugh Leatherman has been a longtime supporter of our Port, and no one has been more supportive or more important to the success of our world-class port's vision. He secured funding for the port access road and garnered support for the Inland Port and Jasper Ocean Terminal. He has always been at the table to assist in the recruitment of jobs and investment to our state. And, most importantly, he was a key leader in securing the $300 million state contribution for harbor deepening. It is only fitting and is my honor to name SCPA's new container terminal after him."
Economic Impact Study
SCPA released Upstate, South Carolina-specific results of a new economic impact study completed by the University of South Carolina's Darla Moore School of Business. The study found that the Port supports one in eight Upstate jobs paying 40 percent higher than the state's average annual wage.
As home to the Inland Port, the Upstate region benefits from $26.8 billion in annual economic activity representing approximately half of SCPA's total statewide economic impact.
"The Upstate is home to a large concentration of port users whose cargo represents significant volumes for our facilities," said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. "The fact that 50 percent of the SCPA's total statewide impact benefits the Upstate is a testament to the statewide connectivity of the Port. We are proud of the economic development opportunities and well-paying jobs SCPA supports in the Upstate and across South Carolina."
The study identified the following impacts of port operations on Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Chester, Greenville, Greenwood, Lancaster, Laurens, McCormick, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg, Union and York:
• SCPA is responsible for nearly 95,000 jobs in the region.
• Approximately $5.2 billion in labor income from SCPA operations is infused into the Upstate economy annually.
• The manufacturing industry, which represents the largest sector of port-dependent businesses in the Upstate, encompasses 15.3 percent of the overall Upstate economy.
• The study was completed by research economist Joseph Von Nessen using total economic impacts associated with port operations and port users during the 2014 calendar year.
"The regional economic benefits of the Port are felt most significantly in the Upstate," Von Nessen said. "In the Upstate region alone, the Port's impact translates into nearly 95,000 high-wage jobs and $5.2 billion in labor income. But perhaps more importantly, the Port has an ability to facilitate the ongoing development of export-oriented industry clusters, especially in advanced manufacturing. The automotive cluster expansion in particular has been the main driver of economic growth in the Upstate since the Great Recession. This cluster expansion simply would not have happened without access to port facilities."
Statewide, the Port is responsible for 187,200 jobs and $53 billion in annual economic impact, representing nearly 10 percent of total gross state product.