The Port of Charleston now ranks as the nation’s eighth-largest maritime hub after experiencing the largest annual cargo growth of any major U.S. seaport since 2010.
The local waterfront handled 2.8 million shipping containers measured in 20-foot increments last year, moving it ahead of the Port of Oakland for the No. 8 spot on the nation’s top 10 list, according to figures released this week by the State Ports Authority.
Oakland, with 2.4 million containers, slipped to No. 9, just ahead of the Port of Jacksonville in Florida.
Charleston has doubled the number of cargo boxes it handles since 2011, giving it an annual growth rate of 6.58 percent. The growth rate was nearly double the national average and outpaced every other top 10 port during the period, with Savannah coming in second with a 6.44 percent annual growth rate.
“The East Coast and Gulf Coast ports are where the growth has been in the last 11 years,” said Jim Newsome, the SPA’s president and CEO. All of the ports that posted annual gains of at least 5 percent are within those two geographic areas.