Source: Journal of Commerce
December 16th 2015
The Port of Charleston’s November volume of full and empty 20-foot-equivalent units rose 6.5 percent year-over-year, reflecting what CEO Jim Newsome said was expected “sustained moderate growth.”
Through November, the port’s volume totaled 1.8 million TEUs, a 10.8 percent increase from a year earlier. Like other major East and Gulf coast ports, Charleston handled unusually heavy volume earlier this year, when West Coast ports were gridlocked during labor negotiations.
Because Charleston’s bedrock cargoes are related to regional manufacturing, the port’s volume increases earlier this year weren’t as steep as more retail-oriented ports such as Savannah and New York-New Jersey.
Charleston is the second major East Coast port to report November volume. Last week, the Port of Virginia reported a 2.5 percent decline in overall November volume but said it remains on pace for a record year.
Newsome, CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority, said the mid-to-high single digit increases of recent months are in line with predictions, and appear to be sustainable.
“Our broad-based increases will remain tempered in comparison to last year’s double-digit growth, but I expect we will continue to keep pace with growth above the U.S. port market average,” Newsome said.
Much of Charleston’s cargo is related to the automotive industry, which is in a years-long growth period. South Carolina is home to plants of companies including BMW and Michelin. Volvo is scheduled to open an assembly plant in South Carolina in 2018.
Charleston handled 153,594 TEUs last month, compared with 144,218 TEUs in November 2014. Measured in pier containers, or total boxes handled, volume last month was up 4.4 percent from a year earlier to 86.120 units.
Full TEUs in November totaled 122,967, up 4.6 percent from a year earlier. Export loads totaled 59,482 TEUs, up 3.4 percent. Loaded imports were 63,485 TEUs, up 5.7 percent. Empty exports totaled 25,518 TEUs, a 25.2 percent increase.
During the year’s first 11 months, full exports were up 5.7 percent (to 679,675 TEUs), full imports were up 12.3 percent (768,817 TEUs), empty exports were up 38.1 percent (217,854 TEUs), and empty imports were down 24.3 percent (104,531 TEUs).
Charleston handled 69,966 tons of non-containerized cargo in November, while the Port of Georgetown moved 28,172 tons.
The port authority’s inland port at Greer, South Carolina, handled 6,076 moves in November. During the first four months of the port authority’s July-to-June fiscal year, the inland port handled 34,307 rail moves, an increase of 58.2 percent from a year earlier.