South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) has handled more than 1.82 million TEUs thus far in fiscal year 2020, from July through March, up 2 percent from the same time a year prior.
Jim Newsome, president and chief executive officer, SCPA, commented: “We are incredibly grateful to our port employees and all those working in the maritime and logistics community for their dedication to ensuring cargo — including food, supplies and medical equipment — is efficiently delivered to communities. We will navigate together through this challenging time and come out of this stronger than before.”
Newsome added: “It has become increasingly clear since the end of Chinese New Year that the covid-19 manufacturing shutdown in China and the subsequent, significant shutdown of the consumer economies in the U.S. and the Western world means that we will not achieve our fiscal year 2020 volume plan,”
In light of this situation, SCPA has revised its container outlook for fiscal year 2020 – which runs from July 2019 to June 2020 – to 1.345 million pier containers, as compared to fiscal year 2019 volume of 1.364 million pier containers.
With a view toward a more conservative outlook for fiscal year 2021, the port is taking a series of immediate cost-cutting actions to address this anticipated shortfall:
- Deferral of one-time crane move from Wando Welch Terminal to North Charleston Terminal.
- Hiring freeze.
- Reduction in overtime through less vessel work.
- Significant reduction in business travel and entertainment.
- Significant reduction in advertising and promotion.
- Deferral of implementation of Tideworks, a terminal operating system, until the opening of the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal.
- Elimination of temporary workforce.
SCPA is targeting an overall reduction of 10 percent in costs (excluding depreciation), which equates to about US$20 million (on a cost structure of US$220 million).
Newsome added: “We are proud of the dedication of both the SCPA workforce and the greater South Carolina maritime community in keeping port operations fluid in these unusual and challenging times.
“We continue to be very positive about the long-term outlook for both the Southeast port market and the South Carolina Ports Authority in view of a number of business development initiatives, which are ongoing.”