State Ports Authority expecting big returns in $150 million investment

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Port of Charleston is responsible for almost one in every five jobs in South Carolina translating into 45 billion dollars in economic activity.

Over the next year, the State Ports Authority says those numbers will only rise.

An aggressive investment plan by the SPA will be pumping $150 million into several projects that they say will have an even bigger return in the future.

Like a sail full of wind, the Port of Charleston is growing, picking up speed and not looking back.

Allison Skipper, with the SPA, says the port's numbers have already begun to rise.

"March as a matter of fact was our highest month of volume since October of 2008," Skipper said."So prior to the global recession and March was also our highest level ever for vehicles, led primarily by BMW exports."

But sending BMW's overseas is just a fraction of the aggressive investment plan the ports authority is putting into motion. This year, almost 150 million dollars will be pumped into the Port of Charleston.

The largest part of the spending will be on projects related to the Navy base terminal, which is still the only new port facility on the U.S. east coast.

Construction of the Navy base terminal is just beginning, but Skipper says it's completion will mean a big payoff for the state.

The investment plan into the ports is the largest the agency has made in it's 70 year history. Skipper says the plan projects an 8 percent increase in container volume and if the port traffic increases, so does the local economy.

Historically, when the port has succeeded, Charleston succeeded and South Carolina has succeeded.

The ports authority board also approved a 2 million dollar North Charleston terminal container yard improvement.

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