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The Charleston Harbor deepening project has received its Chief's Report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, marking the final substantive approval required for the project to advance through construction, South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) officials announced yesterday.The report outlines the recommendation to deepen the Port of Charleston's harbor channel to 52 feet and the entrance channel to 54 feet, as well as enlarging turning basins to accommodate post-Panamax vessels, authority officials said in a press release.After review by the Secretary of the Army’s office, the report moves to the Office of Management and Budget for review and then to Congress for review and authorization, which is expected early next year."By the end of the decade, we will achieve 52 feet of depth and Charleston will be the deepest harbor on the East Coast," said SCPA President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Newsome. "This depth advantage will provide our customers with 24-hour access to deepwater, a requirement for significant long-term volume growth in today's big-ship environment."Also yesterday, Newsome presented his seventh annual "State of the Port" address, in which he announced the port’s fiscal-year 2015 results and outlined its five-year initiatives.The port posted a nearly 15 percent fiscal year-over-year increase in container volume in FY2015, handling 1.9 million 20-foot equivalent units. Over the past five fiscal years, the port logged a 75 percent increase in revenue, from $112 million in FY2010 to $196 million in FY2015, Newsome said. Operating earnings rose from $8.4 million to $30 million, while pier container volumes jumped from 741,000 to 1.095 million during that five-year period.Among the port's long-term goals is to climb from the top 10 to top five U.S. container port volume ranking by the end of the decade, Newsome said.
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