DILLON, S.C.— Growth continues at Inland Port Dillon.

The South Carolina Ports Authority announced Thursday that Inland Port Dillon, now in its second year of operation, had 3,204 rail moves in August, up 60% from last year.

The growth at the inland port is part of record growth for the ports authority.

“Our record volumes are driven by a strong U.S. economy, as well as our advantageous Southeast location and consistently productive terminals,” S.C. Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome said.

According to data provided by the ports authority, it handled 233,110 20-foot-equivalent container units at the Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals in August, up 13% from the year prior. The port has handled 443,652 twenty-foot equivalent container units thus far in fiscal year 2020, up 9% from the same period last year.

As measured by the total number of boxes handled, the ports moved 132,233 pier containers in August, up 13% from a year ago.

The port moved 58,966 breakbulk tons in August, up 43% from a year ago. The port handled 19,032 vehicles at Columbus Street Terminal in August, up 45% from last year.

Inland Port Greer reported 14,854 rail moves in August, up 24% from a year ago.

The ports, Newsome said, were positioned to handle more cargo growth.

“We continue to invest in vital infrastructure, including completing the first phase of the Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. Terminal in North Charleston in 2021, deepening Charleston Harbor to 52 feet and equipping the Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant with additional 155-foot-tall ship-to-shore cranes,” Newsome said.

The Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. Terminal is on track to open in spring 2021, according a media advisory issued Thursday, marking the first new container terminal to open in the U.S. in a decade. The future terminal will be on the old Navy Base in North Charleston along the Cooper River.

“The first berth of the Leatherman terminal is set to open in 2021 in conjunction with the completion of the Charleston Harbor deepening project,” Newsome said. “Achieving these long-term, crucial infrastructure projects will ensure we have the capacity to the handle cargo increases that accompany larger ships calling on the port.”

Construction of phase one is progressing and recently hit a significant milestone — half of the piles have been driven for the wharf. Upon completion, the 134-acre phase one will have a 1,400-foot wharf, five 169-foot-tall ship-to-shore cranes and 25 hybrid rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes.

Full buildout of the three-berth Leatherman terminal is expected to wrap in 2032; the 286-acre terminal will have the capacity to handle 2.4 million TEUs of cargo.

The ports authority has also issued bonds to complete the building of phase one by 2021.

“We are incredibly pleased to have a successful bond issuance and very strong ratings, which reflect great confidence in SCPA’s capabilities, team and growth plans,” Newsome said. “We continue to invest in modernizing our terminals, deepening our harbor, upgrading our equipment and building a new container terminal to double port capacity. These initiatives will ensure the port can handle mega containerships and remain competitive as a top 10 U.S. container port. We appreciate the ongoing support from our board on these initiatives.”

The South Carolina Ports Authority was established by the state’s General Assembly in 1942. It owns and operates public seaport and intermodal facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer. As an economic development engine for the state, SCPA operations facilitate 187,200 statewide jobs and generate nearly $53 billion annual economic activity.

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Government and Poltics Reporter

I cover the city of Florence, the county of Florence, the state legislative delegation of Florence County and surrounding areas, and the federal delegation representing the Pee Dee for the Morning News.

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