The South Carolina State Ports Authority approved $146.9 million in capital spending during its fiscal year beginning July 1 and forecast Charleston’s container volume will rise 8 percent during the next 12 months.
The port authority’s capital spending plan would be the largest in the agency’s 70-year history. It includes major investments such as construction of the new Navy Base Terminal and upgrades to facility infrastructure and information systems.
Both houses of the South Carolina Legislature have approved a $180 million allocation for the port, and a budget conference committee is considering an additional $120 million to deepen port channels in preparation for larger Panama Canal locks.
The port authority’s budget for the next fiscal year projects a 6 percent increase in breakbulk and non-containerized cargo at South Carolina’s public seaports.
The port authority has completed a $23 million upgrade of Charleston’s Columbus Street Terminal for handling roll-on/roll-off, breakbulk and project cargoes. The terminal handles cargoes such as BMW vehicle exports as well as heavy-lift moves for the power generation industry.
During the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, containerized volume at Charleston was up 3.4 percent while non-containerized cargo at Charleston and Georgetown jumped 43.1 percent. Container volume in May rose nearly 10 percent year-over-year to 132,498 twenty-foot-equivalent units.