The South Carolina Ports Authority finished its best calendar year on record in 2019, handling 2.44 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), a 5% increase over 2018, officials said Thursday.
S.C. Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome said volumes were strong across all business segments despite ongoing global trade concerns.
"We enter 2020 with a great decade of growth behind us, during which we doubled our volumes, tripled our asset base, and added more than 200 people to our team," Newsome said in a January 9 statement.
S.C. Ports handled 1.38 million pier containers, as measured by the total number of boxes handled, in 2019 at both the Wando Welch and North Carolina terminals, officials said. Of those, more than 1.1 million containers went across the docks of the Wando terminal during major renovations to enhance the terminal's big-ship readiness capabilities.
Breakbulk cargo grew in 2019, with 725,828 pier tons handled, up nearly 10% from a year ago. The Port also handled 225,191 vehicles, up 4%, and 262,776 cruise passengers, up 24%, in 2019.
Inland Port Greer and Inland Port Dillon also saw record-breaking activity in 2019, with 190,539 combined rail moves, up 41% year-over-year, officials said.
December volume was strong, as well. The Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals handled 187,882 TEUs during the month, bringing the total TEUs handled thus far in the port's 2020 fiscal year, which began in July, to 1.23 million, up nearly 4% to date, officials said.