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Port of Charleston marks 13th consecutive month of record volumes

‘US consumer appetite for retail goods’ helped boost March imports

SC Ports reported record volumes in March. (Photo: Shutterstock/Daniel Wright98)

March was the 13th consecutive month for record container volumes at the Port of Charleston, and South Carolina Ports officials say they are working to ensure the port doesn’t get clogged up.

As of Tuesday morning, 13 vessels were at anchor at the port and waiting to dock, according to SC Ports’ daily vessel report.

“As we continue to handle record volumes on our terminals, SC Ports is working alongside our maritime community and logistics partners to navigate the many challenges felt across the entire supply chain,” SC Ports CEO Jim Newsome said in a release. “We are responding to customers’ needs as we make progress on reducing the backlog.”

The port said that “strong U.S. consumer appetite for retail goods” drove container volumes in March. SC Ports handled 264,334 twenty-foot equivalent container units, up 6% year-over-year. Imports were up 16% year-over-year last month. 

Last year, SC Ports said March 2021 volumes represented “the strongest monthly volumes” in the port’s history. 

Since the start of SC Ports’ fiscal year in July 2021, the Port of Charleston and its three terminals — Wando Welch, North Charleston and Hugh K. Leatherman — have handled 2.14 million TEUs, a 15% increase from July 2020 to March 2021.

Pier containers, or containers of any size, totaled 145,415 in March, a 5% gain year-over-year. 

To address record volumes and ongoing supply chain challenges, SC Ports has implemented efforts such as providing Sunday hours for motor carriers and selective leasing for the port’s new chassis.

“We will continue investing in strategic port infrastructure and deploying creative solutions to ensure fluidity for our customers,” 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.