The Port of Charleston is posting numbers topping pre- recession levels, thanks in large part to one customer — BMW.
The Charleston Post and Courier reports that the German automaker, with its American plant about 200 miles away in Greer, is sending between 800 and 1,000 vehicles every day, seven days a week, to Charleston. On average eight ships a month go to Europe, and three to Asia. The port stacked as many as 10,000 vehicles at a terminal at one point this month.
Exports, mainly BMWs, account for nearly one-third of the value of all exports leaving South Carolina, according to the state Commerce Department.
The $9.2 billion worth of passenger car exports in 2014 is up more than 21 percent from 2013 and is 10 times higher than at the start of the decade.South Carolina now is the nation’s top exporter of passenger vehicles.
BMW recorded an 8.1 percent jump in sales during the first quarter of 2015, compared to a year ago, with 526,669 vehicles delivered. The Greer plant, which opened in 1994, recently celebrated its 3 millionth vehicle.