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Rail News: Intermodal

S.C. Ports Authority logs strong volumes in 2015, expects flat growth in 2016

South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) posted 10 percent container growth in 2015, a year highlighted by strong volumes and progress on a harbor deepening project, port officials announced this week.

SCPA logged 144,718 twenty-foot-equivalent (TEUs) in December, which lifted total container volume to 1.97 million in 2015, according to an SCPA press release.

SCPA's two container terminals moved 1.12 million boxes last year, a 9.54 percent increase compared with boxes moved in 2014.

"Our 10 percent TEU volume growth for the 2015 calendar year is outstanding," said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and chief executive officer. "Successful recruitment of discretionary cargo has been an important driver of volumes, as well as continued strength of the automotive sector."

However, port officials expect "flat to very modest growth" this year largely due to weakness in overseas markets. In addition, the delay in the Panama Canal expansion project's completion means the port will not see any new ship deployments of significance until fiscal-year 2017, Newsome said.

Meanwhile, the Charleston Harbor deepening roject is making progress, he said. In December 2015, a pre-construction engineering and design agreement was signed. And last week, the project cleared another milestone with the record of decision, the formal recommendation of the project to Congress for authorization.

Also, the port recently added a new regular shipping service, the Atlantic Ro-Ro Carriers (ARRC), to its vessel calls at the Columbus Street Terminal. The first ARRC vessel arrived Jan. 8, handling 6,000 tons of import cargo.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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