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South Carolina port notes February volume jump, progress on harbor deepening project

Container volume at the Port of Charleston, S.C., rose about 11 percent in February to 131,634 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), the 12th-straight month of year-over-year growth, according to the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA). The number of loaded containers registered its highest level since October 2008.

The February results show volume is trending "in the right direction" since the next few months traditionally are the busiest part of the year for the port's container business, said SCPA President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Newsome in a press release. The port is served by CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway.

"All of the lines are making their service deployment decisions that come into effect in May, and we expect to see additional big ships in our harbor from more carriers," said Newsome.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) recently addressed the port's harbor deepening project, for which a feasibility study is at the midway mark.

Graham noted that new legislation that will be introduced in Congress would establish a more merit-based approach to harbor improvement projects by fully utilizing the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. He predicted that the Charleston project would compete well for federal funding, which would cover 40 percent of the project's cost.

"For us to grow our economy, we've got to do the big deal," Graham said. "The economic engine of South Carolina is the Port of Charleston."

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