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South Carolina Ports posts record cargo volumes for 14th consecutive month

Pier containers were at an ‘all-time record’ in April

April was another record-breaking month for South Carolina Ports and the terminals at the Port of Charleston.

April’s volumes were the highest April ever for containers handled, driven by sustained retail imports, which were up 34% year-over-year, SC Ports said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, SC Ports is “making significant progress with terminal and berth fluidity amid ongoing supply chain challenges,” the port authority said. As of Tuesday morning, only two vessels were at anchor and waiting to berth. Earlier this spring, the number of vessels at anchor was in the double digits

SC Ports handled 264,099 twenty-foot equivalent units at Wando Welch, North Charleston and Leatherman terminals in April, 17% higher than April 2021. Since the start of the fiscal year on July 1, 2021, SC Ports has moved 2.4 million TEUs, a 15% increase year-over-year.

April was also an all-time record for pier containers, which accounts for boxes of any size. SC Ports handled 145,779 pier containers, up 16% from April 2021. Fiscal year-to-date volumes totaled 1.3 million pier containers, up nearly 15%.

Vehicle volumes held steady at 21,829 vehicles handled at the Columbus Street Terminal. The rail-served inland ports at Greer and Dillon, South Carolina, handled a combined 14,945 rail moves in April, down 8% year-over-year.

“With ongoing supply chain challenges and record cargo volumes, SC Ports remains focused on deploying responsive, creative solutions to return terminal and berth fluidity to normalcy for our customers,” CEO Jim Newsome said. 

To help with fluidity, SC Ports has been providing Sunday gates for motor carriers, prioritizing the shipping lines by taking empties out, giving berth priority to vessels taking out more cargo and leasing new chassis from its SMART Pool, SC Ports 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.