The Port of Charleston handled 121,286 TEUs in January, 7.7 percent more than the same month in 2012.
It was another good month for the port, which handled 892,387 TEUs in the first seven months of its current fiscal year, 11 percent more than the same period a year earlier.
South Carolina Ports Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Newsome said the port's volumes have been growing well above the market in recent months.
"In 2012, North American container port volumes were up 2 percent overall, while Charleston grew 10 percent," he said. "We will continue to focus hard on growing our cargo base. This includes discretionary cargo, such as agricultural products that can be transloaded to containers at or near the port."
Newsome noted that several ocean carriers are planning service changes that will benefit Charleston by adding a call or deploying larger ships.
"This is the time of year when carriers look at realigning services or upsizing their vessels on existing services. Any line that has big ships will deploy them anywhere they can," he said. "We should begin to see some impact from new or upsized services later this spring."
SCPA also saw a spike in breakbulk tonnage, handling 173,306 tons, 93 percent more than the prior year in the ports of Charleston and Georgetown. In the fiscal year to date, non-containerized cargo is tracking 30 percent ahead of the same period last year. The two ports combined have handled more than 1 million tons of breakbulk in the first seven months of the fiscal year.
"The non-containerized cargo segment is a growth market for us," Newsome said. "It is essential for a port to diversify its business, and breakbulk is a big part of that." - Chris Dupin