The South Carolina Ports Authority on Wednesday reported it had its busiest November on record.
The ports authority said it handled 175,217 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) during the month, a 14 percent increase compared with November 2015, and a 7 percent increase compared with the previous November record of 163,121 TEUs set in 2005.
For the year, the ports authority said it has handled 864,970 TEU moves since the fiscal year began in July, and container volume is up 4 percent.
The ports authority said it also broke previous November volume records for pier containers, or boxes handled — 99,042 during the past month. Year-to-date, its pier container volume has increased 4 percent, with 487,924 boxes moved at its North Charleston and Wando Welch container terminals.
“The port had a record November of close to 100,000 pier containers with continued year-on-year growth in the loaded container segment and the resurgence of empty exports through calls by extra loader vessels,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the S.C. Ports Authority, in a statement.
“We are ahead of a plan for the fiscal year 2017 but expect a seasonally modest December through February as lines adjust to slowing world trade and prepare for new alliance deployments. The South Carolina Inland Port Greer continued to handle near-record volumes as we prepare to build a second inland port in Dillon County.”
The ports authority said its non-containerized cargo volumes in Charleston exceeded fiscal year-to-date plans during the past month by 11 percent. Charleston handled 66,953 pier tons of breakbulk cargo in November.
There were 9,465 rail moves at the ports authority’s inland port in Spartanburg County during the month. For the year, the facility’s volume has increased nearly 31 percent to 44,893 rail moves, compared to the same period of July through November during the previous year.
On Saturday, the ports authority announced that the U.S. Senate approved the Water Infrastructure Improvement for the Nation Act, which includes Congressional authorization for the deepening of Charleston Harbor to 52 feet.
The deepening project, which is expected to be complete by 2020, would make Charleston the deepest harbor on the East Coast, according to the ports authority.
In other action, the ports authority awarded $500 to two elementary students in Charleston who submitted the winning entries in a contest to name two new super post-Panamax cranes at the Wando Welch Terminal.
The ports authority said it received more than 400 entries from Charleston County students in third through fifth grades.
Jacob Blackburn, a fifth grader at Belle Hall Elementary School, won with his “Cranebob Bluepants” submission. Annabelle Horton, also a fifth-grader at Belle Hall Elementary, won with her submission “Heavy Metal.”
The names have been painted onto the cranes.
For more information, visit www.scspa.com.