The global recession brought volume and earnings down significantly at the Port of Charleston. Profit plummeted 53 percent to $25.7 million for the fiscal year ending June 30.
The South Carolina State Ports Authority said its operating revenue declined 18 percent to $136.2 million during the year, while operating expenses were flat at $111 million.
Charleston’s container volume dropped by 19 percent during the 2009 fiscal year to 1.37 million 20-foot containers from 1.69 million TEUs in FY2008, the SCSPA said Tuesday.
Breakbulk volume in Charleston was down 17 percent, with 549,008 tons handled in fiscal 2009, compared to 660,096 tons in the previous year.
The Port of Georgetown’s volume increased by 3 percent over last year to 286,254 tons of cargo. A new renewable energy project in Georgetown and several additional contracts could bring several million tons of new cargo through the port this year.
Despite the widespread decline in global shipping during the year, the SCSPA succeeded it bringing the following new business into its ports.
--It brought the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia to Charleston with a new regular service for containers, breakbulk and roll-on, roll-off cargo;
--It extended through 2017 a contract with Mediterranean Shipping Company for Charleston;
--It finalized a two-year contract extension with the Grand Alliance;
--It added a new Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics service between the U.S. East Coast and North Europe;
--It signed a new 20-year contract with Carolina-Pacific to export wood briquettes from the Port of Georgetown to North Europe, starting this fall;
--It increased refrigerated and container capacity at the Wando Welch Terminal;
--It awarded a $55-million construction contract for new container terminal work.
Also during the past year, the port authority completed the search for a new president and chief executive officer by hiring James I. (Jim) Newsome III, former president of Hapag-Lloyd (America), as the fifth leader in its history.
Contact Peter T. Leach at email@example.com.