The Port of Virginia gained bragging rights over its southeastern rivals for August container business with a 24 percent jump in volume to 188,658 TEUs compared to the prior year, while the Port of Charleston reported a 19.3 percent gain to 137,039 shipping units and the Port of Savannah said TEUs grew 13.8 percent to 270,610.
August was the second-highest month on record for container throughput in Savannah, behind only October 2010, and the strongest month for container volume in Charleston, S.C., since October 2008.
In July, Charleston posted a 16 percent gain in container volume on an annual basis.
Increases in loaded exports and new ocean services are helping boost Charleston's cargo base, the South Carolina Ports Authority said.
Next week the port will welcome the first ship in a new Oceania service operated by Hamburg S
üd and Maersk Line.
The SCPA also reported breakbulk volume at the ports of Charleston and Georgetown increased 35.5 percent in August to 150,539 tons.
Tonnage at the Georgia ports of Savannah and Brunswick grew 13 percent in August to 2.3 million tons
Bulk and breakbulk cargo in Brunswick skyrocketed 62.3 percent to 80,176 tons and 46.2 percent to 108,585 tons, respectively.
Automobile and machinery units moved through Colonel’s Island and Ocean Terminal increased 45.7 percent on the month, totaling 57,113 units. August was also the second-highest month for roll-on/roll-off units at the GPA, with the high mark set in April 2012.
“Heavy machinery customers such as JCB, Caterpillar and John Deere are experiencing healthy demand in markets such as Australia and the Middle East, while the more than 20 auto makers who use GPA services are doing brisk business in Europe,” Port Director Curtis Foltz said.
Total vessel calls in Georgia reached 259, 36 more than in August a year ago. The GPA said it set August records in total trucking gate moves (179,905) and containers moved by rail (29,364).
As for the Port of Virginia, its container volumes are up 8 percent year-to-date to 1.36 millon TEUs.
Intermodal containers handled in August increased 22.8 percent to 34,528 and year-to-date rail containers are up 15 percent to 247,217.
The port authority said it moved 780 containers on its twice-weekly barge service between Hampton Roads and the Port of Richmond in central Virginia, a 200 percent increase from a year ago. So far this year, the number of containers carried by barge instead of truck has more than doubled to 5,978.
Ship calls increased by 21 to 172 in August, with the total number of ships visiting the port this year at 1,310 vs. 1,202 compared to the same period a year ago.
The Virginia Inland Port, in Front Royal, experienced a 34.8 percent increase in container volume to 3,465 boxes and volume is running 4.8 percent ahead of last year.
Breakbulk volume increased 15.3 percent to 25,413 tons. - Eric Kulisch