Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal

Hapag-Lloyd's Yorktown Express becomes the first ship to call at the new Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal in North Charleston, South Carolina, April 9, 2021. Photo: SC Ports Walter Lagarenne

South Carolina Ports Sets New Annual Record for Containers Handled

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1984
July 13, 2021

South Carolina’s Port of Charleston has just concluded its best year on record as the American economy emerged from the pandemic.

South Carolina Ports reported its fiscal year 2021 results on Tuesday, showing 2.55 million twenty-foot equivalent units handled across Charleston’s its three container terminals: Wando Welch Terminal, North Charleston Terminal and the new Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal. This makes for 9.6% increase in TEU volume compared to FY 2020. Its fiscal year ends June 30.

SC Ports moved 1.42 million pier containers, which measures containers of any size, in FY 2021. This is up 7.7% from FY 2020.

The vehicles segment also came in strong with 253,981 vehicles rolling across the docks of Columbus Street Terminal in FY 2021, up 27.0% compared to the year prior.

SC Ports’ two rail-served inland ports also set cargo records in FY 2021, with a combined 192,844 rail moves recorded, up 11.7% from a year ago. Inland Port Greer moved 157,842 rail moves in fiscal year 2021, up 12.6%, while Inland Port Dillon had 35,002 rail moves, up nearly 7.9%.

“While the global pandemic has placed great strain on global supply chains, it has also highlighted how incredibly vital maritime, motor carrier and logistics workers are to the supply chain,” SC Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome. “They are keeping freight moving while handling unprecedented cargo increases. We owe them much gratitude for their hard work over the past year.”

Looking at June, SC Ports reported moving 231,758 TEUs in June, which is up 48.1% compared to June 2020 and up 15.6% compared to June 2019. Meanwhile, the Port of Charleston handled 128,622 pier containers in June, a 44.5% increase from June 2020 and a 13.8% increase compared to June 2019.

SC Ports had a strong month for vehicles. The Port handled 23,096 vehicles in June, a 60.7% increase year-over-year and a 25.3% jump from June 2019.

A big milestone for SC Ports came in April when Phase One of the new Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal began operations, marking the first container terminal to open in the U.S. since 2009. The Leatherman Terminal adds a 1,400-foot berth and 700,000 TEUs of capacity to the Port of Charleston and U.S. East Coast port market.

SC Ports also kicked off an expansion at Inland Port Greer, further enhanced Wando Welch Terminal, and saw significant progress with the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project, which will deepen the channel depth to 52 feet in 2022. At 52 feet it will be the deepest harbor on the U.S. East Coast.

“We have been highly focused on delivering world-class infrastructure at the right time,” Newsome said. “We accomplished this in fiscal year 2021, most notably with the opening of Leatherman Terminal, which adds much needed capacity for customers.”

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