Industrial cargo

The Fastest-Growing Port in the Country

The Port of Charleston has the deepest water in the southeastern United States, handling $65.1+ billion in imports and exports, providing 260,800 jobs, and yielding an economic impact of $45 billion annually. As if that’s not enough, representatives say the port is, “heavily investing in new and existing terminals with a 10-year, $1.3 billion capital plan.”

Read on to catch up on the impressive facts and figures surrounding this booming port and how it has readied itself for the Panama Canal expansion.

  1. At least six vessels enter the harbor each day, with 3 percent being cruise ships, and the rest being made up of containers and break-bulk pier tons. Pier container volume increased 8 percent in FY2014.
  2. Boasting the deepest water in the southern Atlantic United States, the port’s five terminals handle a variety of cargo including bulk, break-bulk and container. The port handled 1.68 million TEUs in 2014.
  3. Biggest export? Think wood. Given its proximity to regional forestry resources, many of the Southeast’s forestry products — lumber, paper and pulp — go through the port.
  4. A total of 5,279 vessels (excluding barges) docked at the port from 2011-2013, with the port servicing 18 of the top 20 largest container ship lines.
  5. Beyond the port itself, more than 20 million square feet of prime Class A industrial distribution centers will be developed in the market in the next few years. Speculative buildings in the 200,000-1.5 million-square-foot range are scheduled within an hour’s drive of the port facilities, luring large-scale import and export operations. Some of the most prominent companies in the industrial development business are aggressively pursuing and closing projects within a range that will deliver 4+ truck turns per day.

The Port of Charleston is part of a series on the preparedness of U.S. ports for the Panama Canal expansion. Download an in-depth look at the port published by the NAIOP Research Foundation.

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