The volume of standard shipping units handled at the Port of Charleston increased 10 percent to 150,516 TEUs in March, the South Carolina Ports Authority announced Wednesday. For the first three quarters of the fiscal year, volume is up 5.3 percent to 1.2 million TEUs.
The number of containers -- whether 20-foot or 40-foot -- crossing the docks reached 85,616 last month, the highest amount since August 2008. The port has handled 692,338 boxes for the fiscal year to date.
The Union Pier Terminal also was the site of increased breakbulk tonnage. The port moved 9,654 tons of material last month for a total of 89,422 pier tons year to date.
The port authority said it expected a strong fourth quarter in container and breakbulk activity.
The Port of Georgetown also saw gains in breakbulk tonnage, handling 22,757 tons in March, with fiscal year totals up 10 percent to 395,371 tons.
To maintain its ability to handle the growing container volumes, the port authority's board of directors authorized the purchase of 11 new container handlers to replace older models at Wando Welch and North Charleston terminals. The new models provide added capability to handle heavier cargo and stack containers higher than the equipment currently in use, allowing for boxes to be stored more densely.