Port of Charleston

In a time when the vitality of the national economy remains in questions industry consolidations have resulted in a slowdown in container throughput, most notably with Maersk Lines. In the twelve months prior to mid-year 2008 the Port experienced a year-over-year decrease of container traffic. While an upswing is expected in 2009, this projected growth of 2.0% will still put net volume well below 2007 levels.

In the long term, however, the Port of Charleston should continue to experience considerable growth, as the Southeastern ports are expected to increase container throughput by 4.0% per year over the next twenty years. It should be noted that this estimate is conservative due to the fact that increases in fuel and trucking costs will push more vessel traffic through water routes on the East Coast. The Port of Charleston will also be attractive to future shipping firms as many are shifting to higher capacity ships in an effort to reduce fuel prices per container, which plays into the strengths of Charleston given its deeper natural draft as well as crane and handling capability.

Construction was underway on the new Naval Base Terminal at mid-year 2008, and the 25-acre expansion of the Wando Welch terminal is expected to be operational in late 2008. With dockside productivity recently measured at 41 moves per hour, this terminal continues to lead the industry in productivity.

The Georgia Ports Authority and South Carolina Ports Authority recently signed an inter-governmental agreement to acquire, develop and operate a 1,500-acre site as the future Jasper Ocean Terminal.

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