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South Carolina ports, inland terminals report record February

Ports authority braces for expected hit from coronavirus but still expects to finish the fiscal year above plan.

South Carolina ports and inland terminals set records in February. (Photo: South Carolina Ports Authority)

The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) recorded its highest February ever for both cargo volumes and rail moves at inland ports.

The SCPA said it moved 197,214 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) across the Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals in February. South Carolina’s ports have handled nearly 1.64 million TEUs thus far in fiscal year 2020, from July through February, a 4% increase from the same time a year ago.

Loaded export TEUs were up nearly 20% and loaded import TEUs were up about 14% over last February. Both are record levels for the month of February, according to the SCPA.

The SCPA said vehicle volumes are up 26% year-over-year, with a total of 149,340 vehicles handled in fiscal year 2020 through the end of February.

“These volumes are bright spots amid much uncertainty in the global market,” said SCPA President and CEO Jim Newsome. “While we do expect our volumes will be down in March and April due to impacts from the coronavirus, we anticipate a rebound in May and June to finish the year above plan.”

The SCPA’s two rail-served inland terminals also both saw record activity in February. Inland Port Greer reported 13,749 rail moves in February for a total of 99,920 rail moves in fiscal year 2020, up nearly 18% year-over-year. Inland Port Dillon reported 3,068 rail moves in February for a total of 22,893 rail moves in fiscal year 2020, up 22%.

The SCPA reported that the Charleston Harbor deepening project is on track to achieve a 52-foot depth in 2021. Work also is progressing on the first phase of the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal, set to open in March 2021.

Kim Link Wills

Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills has written about everything from agriculture as a reporter for Illinois Agri-News to zoology as editor of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Her work has garnered awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. Prior to serving as managing editor of American Shipper, Kim spent more than four years with XPO Logistics.