THE South Carolina Ports Authority announced the highest April container volumes in its history, with growth of 3.7 per cent over the same month last year.
SCPA handled 196,439 TEU in April. The port has moved 1.8 million TEU across the docks of its Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals since the fiscal year began in July, an increase of nearly two per cent over the same period last year.
"Our strong April volumes were driven in part by significant growth of loaded export containers, which reflects the fact that shippers are utilising Charleston's deepwater harbour as a last port of call for heavy export cargo," said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome.
"Container volume during the spring months puts SCPA in a good position to achieve strong fiscal year results that will exceed FY17 volumes," he said, reports New York's Maritime Professional.
Inland Port Greer handled 9,577 rail moves in April, pushing fiscal year-to-date volumes slightly ahead of last year with 96,937 rail moves since July.
Fiscal year-to-date breakbulk volume in Charleston reached 608,829 tons in April, with 51,426 tons of non-containerised cargo moved last month. The Port handled 17,646 finished vehicles in April.
The port also announced that Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's Ratings Services have affirmed the port's financial position with positive ratings.
Moody's issued an A1 rating with a stable outlook to the Port's upcoming Series 2018 bonds and Series 2015 bonds, citing SCPA's cargo volume growth, competitive infrastructure and operating model
The ratings come as SCPA plans to issue $300 million in new revenue bonds to fund several major capital projects, including Wando Welch Terminal upgrades, Phase One of the Hugh K Leatherman Terminal, SCPA's new headquarters and other improvements to existing facilities.
"The strong ratings issued by both Moody's and S&P reflect SCPA's strong position in the market and our capability of delivering on the necessary projects to remain a top ten container port," Mr Newsome said.
"Our port offers modern facilities, deep water and reliable service, which support continued growth in today's shipping environment. These ratings reaffirm the financial industry's confidence in our long-term strategic plan."
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