Business seems to be rising high at the Port of Charleston. State Ports Authority spokesman Byron Miller says 2010 has been a great year for the port so far. “In the first three months of this year we had back-to-back-to-back growth in the shipping business through the Port of Charleston. The month of March was 24 percent a head of the same month last year. That’s a good increase, that’s positive. We had a period of declining volume here at the Port of Charleston, we are trying to get things turned around and certainly when the economy turns around that helps our business as well,” says Miller.
Miller explains what he says could have caused the recent 24 percent increase from March of last year: “First, companies really let their inventories get low, so they’ve had to re-purchase stock to put on the shelves. Second, export markets are doing pretty good, principally to Asia because they did a stimulus package in Asia there like we did here and there’s has been successful so that’s driving some purchasing. And, then we’ve been very aggressive in going out a trying to add new business to the port. We’ve added a new sales team, we have a new senior vice president, a new vice president of carrier sells and several other promotions.”
As part of this continuing effort to increase productivity and business at the port, Miller says they are adding the largest ocean carrier in Latin America to its list of shipping services. Chile’s CSAV’s service will link Charleston to Northern China and South Korea.
“Which will bring 52 new ships a year into the port, it’s great new business for us at a time we could really use it. Everytime a ship is in port, it means work for longshoremen, tug companies, harbor pilots, warehousers, trucking companies. They, of course, spend their paychecks into the local economy. So, this is great news for the local economy, as well as for our customers all across the Southeast,” says Miller.
Miller says he expects to see the volume increase at the port to continue.
“The current forecast is for three to five percent growth for the east coast of the U.S. this year. We think we will do a little better than that. We won’t see 24 percent increases every month, that’s for sure. But, we’ll enjoy it while we have it. The economy will hopefully turn around, how quickly and how significantly is what everyone is waiting around to see,” says Miller.
(Miller interview, MP3 2:47)