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February another record-busting month for SC Ports

Loaded imports up 46% but exports down nearly 19%

A container ship at the Port of Charleston. (Photo: Shutterstock/Daniel Wright98)

February was the 12th straight month that South Carolina ports hit a monthly record for container volumes.

Last month, SC Ports handled 230,420 twenty-foot equivalent units at the Wando Welch, North Charleston and Hugh K. Leatherman terminals at the Port of Charleston, which is 26% higher than February 2021.

Since the start of SC Ports’ 2022 fiscal year on July 1, 2021, container volumes are up 16% compared with the same period in fiscal year 2021, with volumes totaling more than 1.87 million TEUs.

February’s higher volumes come as SC Ports experienced a lengthening queue of vessels waiting to berth at the port, with average container dwell time at elevated levels compared with a year ago, according to project44 data.

Dwell time in days at the Port of Charleston. (FreightWaves SONAR) To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.

“February marked the 12th consecutive month of monthly year-over-year container records at SC Ports,” South Carolina Ports CEO Jim Newsome said in a release. “With record throughput volumes, we continue to experience a high number of import containers awaiting delivery on our terminals.” 

In February, SC Ports handled 127,492 pier containers, an increase of almost 26% year-over-year. Pier containers are containers of any size. 

Loaded import TEUs grew 46% from a year ago to 119,582 TEUs as retail imports continue to drive sustained cargo growth, SC Ports said. But loaded exports were down nearly 19% to 54,755 TEUs last month.  

“We remain focused on creative solutions and executing our vital infrastructure projects, including the completion of the Charleston Harbor deepening project this fall, initiating construction on the rail-served Navy base intermodal facility and inner-harbor barge project, and advancing towards a quick completion of the Inland Port Greer expansion project,” Newsome said.

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Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.