Container throughput in the Port of Charleston climbed 7 percent in February over the same month last year, bringing the increase in volume for the first eight months of the South Carolina State Ports Authority's fiscal year to more than 12 percent.
Charleston's container terminals handled 108,994 20-foot equivalent units in February, compared to 101,900 TEUs in February of 2010.
During the fiscal year to date (July through February), the port handled 912,789 TEUs, up 12.4 percent from the same period last year.
The increase follows the move by Charleston's two container terminals in January to a single-gate operation.
The SCSPA said the move enabled the terminals to offer extended gate hours and access to its information systems for all port customers, while boosting capacity by about 10 percent. The authority anticipates continued, but moderate, growth through the year.
Breakbulk tonnage in the Ports of Charleston and Georgetown was up more than 44 percent for the first eight months of the fiscal year, with 657,528 tons handled at the two ports in fiscal year 2011 versus 455,449 tons handled last year.
A $21.7-million project to reconfigure and improve Columbus Street Terminal as Charleston's principal breakbulk, roll-on, roll-off and project cargo-handling facility was completed last month.
The terminal now handles BMW's growing export vehicle business that last year totaled more than $4 billion in cars shipped through the Port of Charleston.
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