- THE MAGAZINE
The South Carolina Ports Authority handled 144,649 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in August and recorded its highest monthly volume since October 2008.
August container volumes increased 5.6 percent year-over-year and helped drive a 4.5 percent increase in container volumes since FY2014 began. In July and August, the Port of Charleston handled 280,808 TEUs compared to 268,806 TEUs during the same period last year, and year-to-date TEU volumes are ahead of FY2014 plan by 1.8 percent.
The Port of Charleston also exported more containers in July and August compared to the same two months in FY2013, posting exports of 146,497 TEUs, an increase of 6.7 percent year-over-year.
"We are working on a lot of projects and need to continually be in front of our customers," says SCPA President and CEO Jim Newsome. "Our cargo volumes should continue to be influenced by big ship deployments and increased cooperation by ocean carriers in mega-alliances."
The ports authority board also elected its officers during the September meeting. Bill Stern was reelected as Chairman; John Hassell was reelected as Vice Chairman; Michael Sisk was reelected as Treasurer; and Willie Jeffries was reelected as Secretary.
"I appreciate the confidence of the board and look forward to working as Chairman for the next two years," Stern says. "I'd be remiss if I didn't compliment our CEO Jim Newsome and our entire staff, which is one of the best teams in the country. We're in an exciting time for the Port Authority. Our No. 1 priority is cargo growth, and our harbor deepening, South Carolina Inland Port project and new Navy Base terminal will impact that growth."
Stern has served as Chairman since November 2009. Since taking over as Chairman, Stern has overseen the Port of Charleston regrow its cargo base by 22 percent since FY2010. FY2013 container TEUs increased 9 percent year-over-year and marked the third consecutive year of year-over-year growth.
Local and statewide leaders praised Stern's reelection.
"It's no secret that South Carolina's ports are a major economic development engine for our state, representing $45 billion in annual economic activity," says Gov. Nikki Haley. "The growth of our ports means more jobs and their continued growth will help us add to the over 37,000 new jobs and over $9 billion in new investment we have brought to South Carolina. We can be confident that under the continued strong and focused leadership of Bill Stern, Jim Newsome and the Ports Authority board, we will see Charleston deepened to 50 feet, Georgetown revitalized with new life and a port in Jasper approved and built."
"This is a critical time for our state and our ports as we are moving forward on a number of major initiatives," says House Speaker Bobby Harrell. "I was pleased to see the SCPA Board re-elect Bill Stern as Board Chairman, a reaffirming decision that supports the progress being made. Bill is a proven leader with a solid track record of success and is just the Ports Authority Chairman our state needs right now."
"Bill is a tireless leader," says state Sen. Larry Grooms. "Our state is fortunate to have a businessman like Bill Stern at the helm of one of our most important assets."
On Sept. 16, 2013, Vice President Joe Biden visited the Port of Charleston, saying Charleston Harbor needs to be deepened to 50 feet to accommodate post-Panamax ships that can access the East Coast after the Panama Canal expansion.
"You better deepen it to 50 feet and it better happen or guess what, you will be left behind," Biden says. "That's because other ports along the East Coast will go ahead and do it."
Biden also praised Gov. Nikki Haley, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and the South Carolina federal delegation for their dedication to the harbor deepening project.
"Since the last four and half years, I don't think it's an exaggeration to say there's not been 10 days and two weeks that's gone by we haven't heard about the need to invest in infrastructure down here, particularly in the port," Biden says.
Newsome says Biden's visit to Charleston reinforces the Administration's commitment to the Port of Charleston and its harbor deepening project.
The Charleston Harbor Post-45 project is now in the study phase, and the Army Corps of Engineers Charleston District has completed collecting data. The district is now analyzing that data and expects to provide a Chief's Report by September 2015. The report will recommend a depth to dredge the harbor and will be presented to Congress.
Newsome has says the harbor must be deepened to 50 feet so SCPA can provide 24-hour access to post-Panamax ships carrying up to 9,000 TEUs and drafting 48 feet.