SOUTH CAROLINA PORTS 2007 - MSC signs five-year agreement with the Port of Charleston

By: | at 08:00 PM | Channel(s): International Trade  Ports & Terminals  Liner Shipping  

Mediterranean Shipping Company, the world’s second-largest container carrier, has signed a new five-year agreement with the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) that translates into more than 230 ship calls per year and solidifies the line’s place as one of the port’s largest customers.
“This is a significant event for the Port of Charleston and our customers,” said Bernard S. Groseclose, Jr., president & CEO of the SCSPA. “A commitment of this nature is a clear signal of MSC’s confidence in our port community and the cargo base that we serve.”
Groseclose added that Charleston has significantly expanded capacity at existing terminals over the past two years and is uniquely positioned among South Atlantic ports to handle post-Panamax ships. He cited the Yard Management System (YMS), Charleston’s 45-foot depth at low water, the completion of North America’s largest cable stayed bridge and an expanded equipment inventory, including 20 post-Panamax or larger container cranes and 16 new rubber-tired gantry cranes that were delivered late last year.
“Thanks to the leadership of our state and federal officials, the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project and the Ravenel Bridge were completed,” said Groseclose. “In addition, we have invested in the necessary equipment and technology. We’re ready for these ships. The result is a clear competitive advantage for the Port of Charleston.”
Chris Parvin, vice president of marine operations for MSC, stated, “For the past year or so, we have been successfully operating 6,700-teu post-Panamax ships in Charleston on a regular schedule. These operations have been performing extremely well. We have experienced high productivity and a quick turnaround, which is a critical factor in our industry.
“This productivity, in combination with other key factors – deep water, close proximity to the open ocean, and the ability of all the port’s vendors, including the Port Authority, pilots and tugs to efficiently handle these deep drafted vessels – should continue to boost growth for our business at the Port of Charleston,” Parvin said.
Over the past decade MSC has exploded onto the shipping scene in Charleston. The company’s existing services include two trans-Atlantic services, along with services to the west Mediterranean, South America and Africa.
In 2006, MSC had 167 ship calls in Charleston along with additional calls from vessel sharing partners. The new agreement formally builds on expanded services that MSC established in Charleston over the last 18 months. The new contract provides for the centralization of all MSC services in Charleston from North Charleston and Columbus Street Terminals to the Wando Welch Terminal. This transition is already well underway and is expected to be complete early this summer.
“We appreciate MSC’s confidence in the Port of Charleston’s ability to continually improve marine production and trucker turn times, which are qualities needed to efficiently work big ships,” said Fred N. Stribling, vice president of marketing & sales for the SCSPA. “Charleston is the first port in on the rotation of the service that deploys the 6,700-teu ships. That’s important because we can handle the ship efficiently even when it is fully loaded, a capability very few East Coast ports have.”

American Journal of Transportation