South Carolina Ports (SC Ports) ended 2020 with its strongest December on record, noting impressive volumes with containers, vehicles and inland ports.
SC Ports handled 209,606 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) at Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals in December, up 11.6% year-over-year. SC Ports has handled more than 1.2 million TEUs thus far in the fiscal year 2021, which began July 1.
It moved 116,685 pier containers — which account for cargo boxes of any size — in December, up 10.3% from a year ago. SC Ports has handled 675,065 pier containers fiscal-year-to-date.
Loaded imports were up 14.4% and loaded exports were up 8.6%, highlighting a strong balance for ocean carriers and a thriving Southeast market.
Strong vehicle volume
SC Ports said in a statement that vehicle volumes were exceptionally strong in December. It handled 21,228 vehicles in December, which is a 29.2% increase from last year and an overall monthly vehicle record for SC Ports.
Its two rail-served inland ports also had a very strong December with a combined total of 16,463 rail moves.
The latest result precedes several months of sustained growth.
“The pandemic created unprecedented challenges to supply chains around the world,” SC Ports president and CEO Jim Newsome said. “I am immensely proud of all those working in the maritime and logistics community for showing up every day during a pandemic to keep supply chains fluid.”
SC Ports continued to grow cargo volumes and complete infrastructure projects. Its Charleston Harbor Deepening Project is on track to achieve 52 feet in 2021, enabling bigger ships to call SC Ports any time, any tide. Modernization efforts are also ongoing at Wando Welch Terminal, which includes 15 ship-to-shore cranes with 155 feet of lift height above the wharf deck in 2021.
These investments will enable SC Ports to handle four 14,000-TEU vessels simultaneously, as well as a 19,000-TEU vessel, ensuring the port remains globally competitive for decades to come.