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CHARLESTON, SC: January 17, 2017. The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) handled a record 2.2 million TEU in 2017, resulting in a nine percent growth in container volume for the year.

Charleston container portSCPA owns and operates ports in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer, South Carolina that generate nearly US$53 billion in annual economic activity.

According to the Milken Institute's 25 Best-Performing U.S. Cities 2017 Index, published this month, Charleston ranked No.22 behind Ft. Lauderdale – one of six cities in Florida to make the list. The Index, published annually since 1999, uses fact-based metrics to evaluate the relative growth of jobs, salaries and technology output in metropolitan U.S. areas.

SCPA said its ports moved 182,884 TEUs last month, an increase of 11.2 percent over the same month in 2016 and the highest December figure in its history.

"Global container trade growth was the strongest it has been since 2010, mirroring surprising strength in the global economy," said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome. "We expect to see continued strength, albeit slightly more modest, into 2018 with growth in the emerging market economies as a key factor in sustaining this positive outlook."

The inland port of Greer handled 124,817 total rail moves in 2017, a 20.4 percent growth over its 2016 volume record. Charleston's breakbulk facilities handled 783,363 tons while nearly 235,000 vehicles - mostly BMWs from the company's largest car plant outside Germany - moved through its Columbus Street Terminal in last year.

During 2017 the SCPA continued construction on a new container terminal due to open in 2020, broke ground on another inland port at Dillon, and progressed the final phase of a project to strengthen its Wando Terminal wharf, due for completion by April 2018 with the arrival of two new 155 ship-to-shore cranes.

The SCPA says the completion of a dredging project to deepen the harbor to 52 feet by 2020 will enable Charleston to handle the biggest containerships calling the East Coast.

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