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      SC ports record 8 percent container growth

      File (WCIV)

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP/WCIV) - The South Carolina Ports Authority saw an 8 percent growth in container volume during the fiscal year that ended June 30.

      The authority said Monday that the equivalent of more than 1.6 million 20-foot containers moved through the Port of Charleston. That's about 2 percent more than expected. The June figure was up 19 percent from last year.

      The ports also handled more than 760,000 tons of cargo not shipped in containers.

      Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome said the strong performance was the result of more capital investment by the port, including the opening of the authority's inland port in Greer.

      "We've committed to an ambitious growth plan. Our plan was for 5 or 6 percent growth. We were happy to exceed. But we need to do that for multiple years. Investing a lot of money in a new terminal and deepening the harbor," Newsome said.

      The boom at the port has had a direct impact on Superior Transportation in North Charleston and its owner, Patrick Barber.

      "In the last few years where they have seen marked increases in the 7 to 8 percent range we've grown right along with them. That's a direct result of their marketing efforts," Barber said.

      It means big business for those in the business of moving containers to and from the port like Barber.

      It boosts his bottom line and his workers' spending habits.

      "These folks spend money in jewelry stores, grocery stores, buy automobiles. There are a lot of jobs that are directly affecting by the Port Authority and many who don't even realize it," he said.

      Business has increased so much for Superior Transportation, Barber said he is looking to hire more drivers and mechanics.

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