Barbara Melvin, President and CEO, South Carolina Ports Authority (SC Ports)
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Barbara Melvin, President and CEO, South Carolina Ports Authority (SC Ports)

The past few years have brought tremendous swings, challenges and opportunities in the global supply chain. From the unprecedented import boom that tested capacity during the pandemic to this past year’s economic downturn that impacted port volumes around the US, we have all certainly been kept on our toes.

In 2023, we saw more tepid volumes overall, but bright spots in certain business segments. We anticipate that 2024 will see an uptick in consumer spending and growth in cargo volumes once again as we hopefully see more normalized patterns.

We are encouraged by the continued growth in the Southeast. Billions of new investment dollars are pouring into new manufacturing facilities and retail distribution centers. The Southeast population is booming, and as people buy more goods and make new products, it drives import and export growth in the region.

While we are all facing some uncertainty, we remain focused on realizing critical infrastructure projects; these efforts cannot be knocked off track by short-term trends. At South Carolina Ports, we are expanding our port capacity, inland port network and rail capabilities. By building near-port rail terminal capacity at the Port of Charleston, both CSX and Norfolk Southern will soon serve a new intermodal cargo yard, further speeding goods to market.

We cannot be distracted by short-term economic trends, but rather, we must remain focused on our long-term strategies of maintaining operational excellence, ensuring capacity for the future and providing reliable service for our customers. This all comes down to the people who keep freight moving. By wildly caring for and supporting our teammates, we will continue to grow above market.