Port and Distribution
With the deepest water south of Norfolk, Charleston is in position to be a major beneficiary of the 2014 completion of the Panama Canal widening. Approximately 70% of the container vessels under construction are over 8,000 TEU’s in capacity compared to the traditional 4,500 TEU vessel currently in use. When fully laden these larger vessels require 48 feet, which the Charleston port offers. Each additional foot of depth in the harbor translates to ocean carriers being able to place 100 additional loaded containers onto their vessels. At approximately $2,000 per container, the increased revenue to the shipper is huge. This financial incentive should drive the big ships to Charleston.
The South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) container volume increased 9.3% while non-containerized volume at the Port of Charleston increased 44% during the first half of the year. BMW’s vehicle exports are a major contributor to this significant rise in volume with 70% of the X-series sport utility vehicles exported through the Port of Charleston.
The 787 Dreamliner Final Assembly and Delivery Facility opened and will produce one airplane per month for the first year with the goal of boosting production to three planes per month by 2013. The 240,000 square foot Interiors Fabrications Facility is under construction at the Palmetto Commerce Park. New Breed Logistics settled into their 260,000 square foot building that they are leasing at North Pointe Industrial Park in order to service Boeing. The Robert Bosch plant is expanding on their site creating 300 new jobs. Showa Denko Carbon Inc., a graphite electrode manufacturer, plans to expand and add another 100 jobs. A tire recycler, Tire International, moved from China into a 100,000 square foot facility on Cypress Garden Road.
Military subcontractors are continuing to expand and, in many cases, absorb space formerly occupied by distribution users; SAIC, Stanley and VT Milcom are examples of this trend.
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