New shipping routes and growing Asian trade helped the State Ports Authority increase container volume by nearly 10 percent in 2012, officials said today.

The SPA announced its calendar year results during its monthly board meeting today that container volume in Charleston was up 9.6 percent with 1.5 million 20-foot equivalent units handled at the port’s two container terminals.

“These results are encouraging and a testament to the professionalism of our staff and the entire maritime community,” said Jim Newsome, CEO.

Noncontainerized cargo in Charleston and Georgetown also made substantial gains last year.

The Port of Charleston handled more than 1 million tons of so-called breakbulk shipments over the past 12 months, nearly 26 percent more than the previous year. The increase was driven by higher volumes of power-generation equipment and BMW exports at Columbus Street Terminal.

In Georgetown, breakbulk activity was up 17 percent last year, with 532,472 pier tons of items like steel and bulk cement handled in 2012, officials said.