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American Shipper

South Carolina budgets $80 million for port expansion

South Carolina budgets $80 million for port expansion

The South Carolina Ports Authority said its board approved a $160 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year, projecting $100 million in capital spending and a slight increase in container traffic.

   More than $80 million of the money will go to projects to add capacity in Charleston. The largest cut, $56.2 million, is dedicated for the new 280-acre container terminal at the former Charleston Navy Base. The first phase of the projected is estimated to cost $550 million. Another $24.7 million is for container yard expansion and improvements. Some money will be used for preliminary development work of a South Carolina-Georgia joint port on the Savannah River in Jasper County.

   Last year, the Port of Charleston handled 1.75 million TEUs, an 11 percent decrease from 2006. It is the 11th-largest container port in the nation and fourth largest on the East Coast. The port in May recorded a 7 percent increase in TEUs from the same month in 2006 to 157,553 TEUs.

   The port authority estimates revenue for the fiscal year beginning July 1 will increase 1.63 percent to $160.4 million and container traffic will rise 0.5 percent from the current year. Increases in export volumes and development of new warehousing infrastructure in the Charleston area are likely contributors to stabilizing container traffic in the coming year.

   The plan also calls for the breakbulk port of Georgetown to receive $200,000 for maintenance dredging of berths.

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