The Wando Welch Terminal at the Port of Charleston. Photo: SC Ports

Port of Charleston Sets Cargo Record in 2022

Mike Schuler
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January 24, 2023

The Port of Charleston handled a record 2.8 million TEUs in 2022, joining other East and Gulf Coast ports that also reported record cargo volumes in 2022.

South Carolina Ports announced says 2022’s TEU volume marked an increase of 1.5% over 2021. When accounting for containers of any size, SC Ports moved more than 1.5 million pier containers in 2022, a 1% increase from 2021.

“South Carolina’s excellent port team and maritime community efficiently handled record cargo volumes and expertly navigated supply chain challenges to keep freight moving for our customers,” SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin said.

Port of Charleston joins the ports of Savannah and Houston in reporting record cargo volumes in 2022, with New York/New Jersey likely to follow suit. On the other hand, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on the West Coast both had their second busiest year in 2022, behind only 2021.

With the resumption of cruises, SC Ports had 261,636 cruise passengers come through the Passenger Terminal last year.

SC Ports moved 199,343 vehicles across the docks of Columbus Street Terminal in 2022, further connecting South Carolina’s automakers with global consumers. Inland Port Greer and Inland Port Dillon handled a combined 167,147 rail moves in 2022.

“South Carolina Ports serves as South Carolina’s gateway to the world, giving companies direct access to global markets,” Melvin said. “We proudly move goods for advanced manufacturers, retailers, farmers, medical providers, grocery stores, solar panel producers and small businesses, helping to support 225,000 jobs in South Carolina.”

SC Ports has invested more than $2 billion into port infrastructure in recent years to support the state’s booming business sector. Combined with port funding and state funding, SC Ports plans to spend an additional $2.5 billion over the next decade.

Investments thus far have yielded modernized container terminals with ample capacity, the deepest harbor on the East Coast at 52 feet and a strong rail-served inland port network.

Construction is now underway on SC Ports’ Navy Base Intermodal Facility, a modern cargo yard in North Charleston that will by rail-served by CSX, Norfolk Southern and Palmetto Railways. Creating near-dock rail at the Port of Charleston will make South Carolina more competitive as an import gateway to the United States, SC Ports says.

SC Ports is also developing an inner-harbor barge operation to support the Navy Base Intermodal Facility to transport cargo between container terminals via water.

The SC Legislature and Governor Henry McMaster allocated $550 million to build the rail yard and barge operation.

“With critical support from our state leaders, SC Ports is boldly investing in port infrastructure to ensure port-dependent businesses can thrive in South Carolina,” Melvin added.

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