South Carolina Ports handled record cargo volume in March, driven by strong U.S. consumer demand, port officials said this week.
SC Ports moved 248,796 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) during the month, a 34% increase compared to year-ago levels. Loaded imports were up nearly 50% at the Port of Charleston thanks to pandemic-driven lifestyle shifts that continue to drive demand for consumer items, including home goods, furniture, electronics, exercise equipment, and fresh produce and refrigerated foods, officials said.
Loaded exports rose 8% during the month, as manufacturers and automotive companies saw steady demand for their products across global markets, officials also said. SC Ports handled more than 22,000 vehicles at its Columbus Street Terminal in March.
The record month coincides with the opening of the Hugh K. Leatherman terminal, which will add needed capacity on the East Coast, according to SC Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome.
“This significant achievement leads up to another historic milestone as we prepare to welcome the first ship to the Leatherman Terminal on Friday,” Newsome said Tuesday. “Our all-time container record reinforces that we are adding more capacity to the Port of Charleston at the right time. The state-of-the-art Leatherman Terminal will add 700,000 TEUs of throughput capacity and a 1,400-foot berth to the East Coast port market when it is most needed.”