South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) has opened a new refrigerated container service area in the Port of Charleston, marking a $14 million investment to support increased shipments of frozen food exports from producers in the southeastern United States.
The six-acre refrigerated container service area at the Wando Welch Terminal features a 12-lane service canopy, on-site storage and staging for gen-sets and container washing stations. The facility greatly enhances reefer processing for shippers, truckers and ocean carriers.
The port has four new five-story refrigerated container racks that provide 120 more on-terminal reefer slots, bringing the port-wide total to 1,700 plugs. Four additional racks of the same size are under construction, slated for completion in January of 2018.
Complementing SCPA’s on-terminal investments are more than 660,000 square feet of cold storage and blast freezing capacity that have been built or committed by the private sector in response to the port’s cold cargo growth. Local cold storage providers include Agro Merchants Group, Lineage Logistics and New Orleans Cold Storage.
SCPA’s loaded refrigerated cargo volumes have grown 86% since 2011, driven by proximity to export pork and poultry producers; access to a deepwater harbor, which allows ocean carriers to load ships heavy with frozen exports; and growing regional demand for import reefer commodities.
“Expansion of refrigerated cargo is a strong driver of the port’s overall volume growth, and our capital investment in refrigerated cargo infrastructure reflects a strategic commitment to our cold chain customers,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and chief executive officer. “We look forward to capably serving the continued growth of this business segment.”
Record Volume Movement
SCPA reported on July 12 that the state’s ports moved a record 2.14 million twenty-foot equivalent units in fiscal year 2017, an increase of 10% over the previous year’s container volumes.
Highest-ever June volumes of 183,237 TEUs gave SCPA a strong finish to its fiscal year, which runs from July through June. The previous record was 1.98 million TEUs, achieved in FY2006.
As measured in pier containers, or boxes handled, SCPA moved a record 104,010 containers across the docks of its two container terminals in June. The Port of Charleston handled its highest ever pier container volume of 1.21 million boxes during FY2017, surpassing the previous record of 1.13 million boxes in FY2005.
Inland Port Greer rail lifts reached an all-time high in June, with 13,060 lifts last month. The facility finished the fiscal year with a record 121,761 moves, an increase of 33% compared to FY2016.