Port of Charleston Ends Fiscal Year with Record Cargo, 22% Increase in Imports | Company
Strong consumer demand throughout the pandemic helped the Port of Charleston set a record for the amount of cargo moving through its terminals in the fiscal year that ended June 30, State Ports said. Authority.
The SPA handled 1.58 million containers of all sizes in the past year, a 12% jump from the previous annual record set in fiscal 2021, according to figures released July 11. The number of imported containers increased by 22% compared to the previous year.
Barbara Melvin, President and CEO of SPA, said the region’s maritime community “has taken on today’s supply chain challenges and implemented creative solutions to keep cargo moving” over the course of from a year that has seen supply chain grunts and unprecedented growth in imports driven by consumers guzzling stimulus cash. spending – and freight – slowed slightly in June as inflation and interest rates rose, Melvin and industry analysts said imports are expected to remain strong in the months ahead.
“Freight volume is expected to remain high as we head into peak shipping season, and it is essential that all ports continue to operate with minimal disruption,” said Jonathan Gold, chain vice president. of supply to the National Retail Federation. Gold said supply chain challenges “will continue through the rest of the year.”
The Port of Charleston has extended Sunday gate hours for truckers at least through September and is prioritizing ships carrying more cargo than they bring in to help maintain cargo flow. The maritime agency has also hired 150 additional people to work in the terminal’s yards.
“We are using every possible avenue to add more fluidity to our customers’ supply chain,” Melvin said. “Our decision to invest in infrastructure ahead of demand is proving crucial in the current environment.”
This investment includes more than $2 billion in spending on a new container terminal, new cranes and equipment, and a stronger dock at Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant. An additional $552 million in state and federal funds have been dedicated to deepening Charleston Harbor to 52 feet so that large, fully laden container ships can visit at any time, regardless of the tide.
Money included in this year’s state budget will also pay for a new rail yard in North Charleston to move freight between trains and the nearby Leatherman Terminal, as well as a barge system to move freight by water from Wando Welch to the rail yard.
Other Southeast ports have also seen record freight growth in recent months.
The Port of Virginia, for example, handled 3.7 million 20-foot containers during the 12-month period, a 14.7% increase from fiscal year 2021, which was the previous record. Like other ports, Virginia’s record was driven primarily by an increase in imports, followed by empty container exports.
“We have handled a lot of cargo while making significant progress in other areas,” Stephen Edwards, the port’s CEO and executive director, said in a written statement. , widening and deepening our channels to at least 55 feet deep and upgrading the northern berth at Norfolk International Terminals.”
The Port of Savannah reports numbers by calendar year rather than fiscal year and recorded an all-time high of 519,390 containers in May, the most recent figure available. Griff Lynch, president and CEO of the Georgia Ports Authority, attributed the record to strong consumer demand.
Contact David Wren at 843-937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_