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Photo: SC Ports

South Carolina Ports Sets All-Time Monthly Cargo Record in March

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April 6, 2021

South Carolina Ports handled the most cargo in its history in March, with the Port of Charleston handling record volumes as the new Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal begins operations.

SC Ports reported an all-time container record for March, moving 248,796 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) across the Port of Charleston’s Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals, up 34% year-over-year.

The previous container record was set in August 2019 when the port handled 233,110 TEUs. Fiscal-year-to-date, SC Ports has handled 1.86 million TEUs from July through March.

SC Ports handled 137,855 pier containers in March, which is a 31.3% increase year-over-year. SC Ports has handled nearly 1.036 million pier containers thus far in fiscal year 2021.

“SC Ports moved more cargo than ever before in March. This significant achievement leads up to another historic milestone as we prepare to welcome the first ship to the Leatherman Terminal on Friday,” SC Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome said. The new Leatherman Terminal has five ship-to-shore cranes with 169 feet of lift height above the wharf deck and 25 hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes

“Our all-time container record reinforces that we are adding more capacity to the Port of Charleston at the right time. The state-of-the-art Leatherman Terminal will add 700,000 TEUs of throughput capacity and a 1,400-foot berth to the East Coast port market when it is most needed,” said Newsome.

Loaded imports were up nearly 50% in March at the Port of Charleston. The booming Southeast population and pandemic-driven lifestyle shifts continue to drive retail imports, including home goods, furniture, electronics, exercise equipment, and fresh produce and refrigerated foods, the SC Ports said in a press release.

Loaded exports were up 8.2% in March as advanced manufacturers and automotive companies see steady demand for their products across global markets. SC Ports also handled more than 22,000 vehicles at Columbus Street Terminal in March.

In addition to the Port of Charleston seaport, SC Ports also owns and operates intermodal facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer.

Inland Port Greer, which is 212 miles inland via rail from Charleston, reported its busiest month in history with 16,688 rail moves in March, up 20.3% from last March. Fiscal-year-to-date, Inland Port Greer has handled 119,460 rail moves, up nearly 5% from the same time a year prior.

Inland Port Dillon reported nearly 3,000 rail moves in March. Fiscal-year-to-date, Inland Port Dillon has handled 27,549 rail moves, up 12.4% from the same time a year prior.

“These impressive volumes highlight our efficient operations and the strength of our entire maritime community, which works as a team to keep the supply chain fluid during a global pandemic and amid unprecedented demand,” Newsome said. “We look forward to offering the same reliable service and additional capacity to our customers as we welcome ships to the Leatherman Terminal. SC Ports is proud to open the first container terminal in the U.S. since 2009 in South Carolina.”

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