The Port of Charleston is having a good year. Container volume at the port has seen an increase of 19 percent so far in 2010, and Byron Miller with the State Ports Authority says its good news for the state’s economy.
Charleston has lost a fair amount of container volume to our competitors over the last couple of years. We are now, obviously, trying to recover that, recoup that lost business for our state, and those jobs. So, when you see that kind of growth, that’s encouraging. June alone was up 34 percent over the same month last year, and that’s the fourth straight month where we have had double-digit increases over the previous years. So, volume is moving in the right direction, port business is moving in the right direction.
Miller says despite the economy, and widespread declines in global trade last year, the Port of Charleston has seen a bounce back this year.
We’re doing better. We’re bringing in new services. Charleston has the deepest harbor in the Southeast, that’s a big advantage for us. So, as we continue to bring in new business, investments, and jobs for South Carolina, we’re finding that the port is a huge part of that. Whether it’s companies like Boeing or the new Tire Kingdom DC that’s going up in Berkeley County, companies are attracted by their ability to reach international markets. States and cities that have a port are going to grow faster than the rest of the country.
Although Charleston may have the deepest harbor in the Southeast, Miller says there is still a need to deepen the harbor even more.
The deepening of the Charleston harbor hit a big milestone. The first step is to do what they call a Reconnaissance study, and that’s a first look of whether there is a federal interest. The Cops of Engineers has completed that Reconnaissance study and determined there is a need to go beyond the current depth in the harbor. So, we’re moving on, that will be a long-range project, but it’s important you keep that on track, ships are getting bigger.
The State Ports Authority plans to invest nearly $77 million this fiscal year on terminal improvements.