South Carolina Ports Authority announces record May container volume

CHARLESTON, SC – South Carolina Ports Authority announced 197,437 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) handled last month, a record for the month of May and the second-highest month of container traffic in the Port’s history.

May TEU volume was 8.2 percent higher than the same month last year and nearly surpassed SCPA’s all-time record for container volume, achieved in March 2018 with 199,659 TEUs. Since the Port’s fiscal year began in July, SCPA’s container volume is 2.3 percent higher than the same period last year.

Big ship deployment was a driver of SCPA's record May container volumes, which increased 8.2 percent over TEUs handled in May 2017.
Big ship deployment was a driver of SCPA’s record May container volumes, which increased 8.2 percent over TEUs handled in May 2017.

As measured by the total number of boxes handled by the Port, May was also a record month with 113,531 pier containers moved.

“In spite of the Wando Bridge closure during the last half of May, we achieved very strong volumes for the month,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. “We very much appreciate the flexibility and dedication shown by truck drivers, Charleston Gate, our own employees and the entire maritime community in moving containerized freight under what were adverse conditions for the majority of the month. The leadership of Governor McMaster, Secretary Hall and the South Carolina Department of Transportation, Mayor Haynie, and the Town of Mt. Pleasant was also decisive in making this possible. Our terminals remained fluid throughout the month.”

The Port’s broad-based growth during in May was supported by the further deployment of large container ships to the U.S. East Coast. Increases in loaded export container volumes indicate continued strength in the world economy.

Wando Wharf Modernization Project

Infrastructure improvements at the Wando Welch Terminal have continued to progress, and the wharf modernization project that began in 2015 will soon be completed. The entire length of the terminal berth will return to full-time operation by the end of July, coinciding with the commissioning of SCPA’s sixth crane of 155 feet of lift height.

“The Port has handled record container volumes despite having only two-thirds of our berth capacity in operation for over 800 days,” Newsome said. “We look forward to simultaneously handling two ships of 14,000 TEU or above in the near future with significant berth productivity.”