The South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) Board today approved $26 million in projects, while the Port of Charleston reported a 26 percent increase in container volume last month over the same month last year.

July was the port’s strongest month since October 2008. Shipping container volume totaled 73,818 pier containers, up 26 percent from 58,603 pier containers in July 2009.

While this was the fifth month of double-digit growth, SCSPA officials reported that it is unclear if the national and global economy is truly on the rebound and can be sustained, or if recent increases are more of a reflection of inventory restocking and other short-term drivers.

The SCSPA also reported final results for the fiscal year that ended June 30.  During FY2010, the SCSPA surpassed its volume budget, thanks to a strong last half of the year when container traffic increased 19 percent. In addition, despite the toughest economy in recent history, the SCSPA posted positive operating earnings when a number of ports endured financial losses for the year.

Also during the August meeting, the SCSPA Board awarded approximately $26 million in construction and professional service contracts, including:

  • Columbus Street Terminal Raise and Pave – A $20.57-million construction project to raise and pave 54 acres at Columbus Street Terminal to correct subsurface settling. The work will raise the acreage approximately one foot, with a 12-year life expectancy of the work. North Charleston-based Banks Construction Company will perform the work while S&ME will provide quality assurance services in the amount of $216,600. Construction runs from October to April.
  • North Charleston Terminal Paving – A $1.59-million project to raise and repair seven acres in an area serving Evergreen at North Charleston Terminal.
  • Gate Modifications – A project for improvements to interchange lanes and supporting gate infrastructure at the Wando Welch and North Charleston Terminals for implementation of a common gate structure. The work for this contract, from various vendors, is not to exceed $3.2 million.
  • Drum Island Soil Testing for Marsh Restoration – An amendment for soil testing on the south end of Drum Island. As part of the mitigation package for the Navy Base Terminal, the SCSPA committed to recreate 22 acres of intertidal marsh on the site. Newkirk Environmental will perform additional soil testing before proceeding with construction. The project amendment is estimated at $224,625.

Security Monitoring – A $500,000-project dealing with the port’s surveillance systems and the central monitoring command and control facility. The project is fully funded by a federal grant.