The State Ports Authority said today that container shipment volume started to slow in January because of lingering concerns about a dockside strike.

Those concerns at the Port of Charleston stemmed from a recently resolved labor dispute between the East Coast longshoremen’s union and a group representing ship owners.

“We said in the last meeting that January would be a bit on the dubious side,” said Jim Newsome, chief executive officer of the SPA. “We had more volume in December and that translated into weaker volume in the first two weeks of January.”

Operating revenue for the fiscal year was $79 million, better than $75.3 million a year ago, but 6.6 percent below plan, official reported. Pier container volume was up more than 10 percent, but 2.3 percent below plan for the fiscal year that runs through June.

The port’s biggest gains recently have been coming from noncontainerized cargo, such as automobiles, power-generation equipment and industrial-sized tires. Pier tons, the measurement for such cargo, are up more than 50 percent compared to the SPA’s prior fiscal year and 28 percent above projections.

Newsome reported Tuesday that the break-bulk business is a “very lucrative” and growing segment of shipping. It now includes the recent addition of wired coil shipments at SPA’s Union Pier terminal.

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