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SC Ports CEO talks economic growth, future expansion

Barbara Melvin, President & CEO, SC Ports

Posted on October 18, 2023

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina Ports Authority CEO Barbara Melvin delivered her State of the Ports address on Monday.

This year’s address shows economic growth to the tune of nearly $87 billion. But the cargo handled by the port was down a slight 10 percent. Melvin said that the decrease allowed the port to catch its breath.

“We’re watching what consumer spending is doing and we’re seeing it level off kind of pre-pandemic, so I think as we all reset what we think about as volume and spending across the globe, that is what is easily reflected in port volumes,” she explained.

For Melvin and the port, which either directly or indirectly supports one in nine jobs in South Carolina, the numbers matter. Melvin said recent success is vital but future expansion has to be viewed through a long-term plan.

“Our infrastructure is a long cycle; we can’t let two and three years throw us off of a strategic plan that allows us to grow this capacity,” she said.

Some expansion is coming – including a harbor barge system between the Wando and Leatherman terminals and the North Charleston Intermodal. Both are designed to ease congestion and are set for a 2025 opening.

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