CHARLESTON -- The South Carolina Ports Authority finished 2020 with its strongest December on record, noting impressive volumes with containers, vehicles and inland ports.
S.C. Ports handled 209,606 24-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) at Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals in December, up 11.6% year-over-year. S.C. Ports has handled more than 1.2 million TEUs thus far in fiscal year 2021, which began July 1.
S.C. Ports moved 116,685 pier containers — which account for cargo boxes of any size — in December, up 10.3% from a year ago. S.C. Ports has handled 675,065 pier containers fiscal-year-to-date.
Loaded imports were up 14.4% and loaded exports were up 8.6%, highlighting a strong balance for ocean carriers and a thriving Southeast market.
Vehicle volumes were exceptionally strong in December. S.C. Ports handled 21,228 vehicles in December, which is a 29.2% increase from last year and an overall monthly vehicle record. Thus far in fiscal year 2021, S.C. Ports has moved 135,747 vehicles across the docks at Columbus Street Terminal, which is up 17.42% compared to the same time a year prior.
S.C. Ports’ two rail-served inland ports had a very strong December with a combined total of 16,463 rail moves. The inland ports expand the Port of Charleston’s reach, swiftly moving goods to population centers.
Inland Port Greer — located in Upstate South Carolina along Interstate 85 — reported 13,523 rail moves, a 26% increase year-over-year and the highest December in history.
Inland Port Dillon — located in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina along Interstate 95 — reported 2,940 rail moves in December, down 2.9%.
S.C. Ports ended 2020 with a strong December, following several months of sustained growth.
“The pandemic created unprecedented challenges to supply chains around the world,” S.C. Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “I am immensely proud of our port employees and all those working in the maritime and logistics community for showing up every day during a pandemic to keep supply chains fluid. Their dedication ensures that food products, medical supplies, manufacturing parts and retail goods are efficiently delivered. We are grateful to them, and we look forward to a brighter 2021.”
S.C. Ports continues to grow cargo volumes and complete infrastructure projects while maintaining efficient, reliable service. The $1 billion Phase One of the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal is nearing completion ahead of its March opening. The state-of-the-art terminal includes a 1,400-foot wharf, five ship-to-shore cranes with 169 feet of lift height above the wharf deck, 25 hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes and a 47-acre container yard.
The Charleston Harbor Deepening Project is on track to achieve 52 feet in 2021, enabling bigger ships to call any time, any tide. Modernization efforts are ongoing at Wando Welch Terminal, which includes 15 ship-to-shore cranes with 155 feet of lift height above the wharf deck in 2021.
These investments will enable S.C. Ports to handle four 14,000-TEU vessels simultaneously, as well as a 19,000-TEU vessel, ensuring the port remains globally competitive for decades to come.