CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The ports of Charleston are bouncing back despite financial hardships due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as state leaders recognize our numbers have increased dramatically.
“South Carolina never closed. We did not allow the pandemic to close like some other states did and that has really put us on the map,” said Governor Henry McMaster.
CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority Jim Newsome says since 2019 the ports are seeing a record-breaking volume, reporting over $30 billion in export sales.
“We are handling about the same number of ships that we have handled but they’re larger ships. The trend of our in our industry is not to grow the number of ships is to grow the size of ships,” CEO Newsome says.
The ports expect to ship a total of 1.5 million containers this year and even as other ports on the west coast have had issues, Newsome says our ports have seen little to no impact.
“I said this was going to be a mess and it is. I think the reality of that there is the business that will get back to its natural state and this will be an up sight for us,” Newsome said.
Newsome says he didn’t know what to expect going into the pandemic, but the ports saw increases of more than 50% as more American’s bought more goods. He says he expects more growth as the ports expand into the future, noting the success of the Hugh Leatherman Terminal, which opened in March 2021.
“What we build today is going to last us for a long time. We are a long cycle infrastructure, so we never stopped,” he says.
Newsome announced he is retiring end of June 2022, and he will be replaced by his COO Barbara Melvin.